‘Thanksgiving could be a massive superspreader event,' Rhode Island emergency room doctor says

  • Dr. Laura Forman, chief of emergency medicine at Rhode Island’s Kent Hospital, said healthcare professionals are "really concerned" about Thanksgiving, and that it could be a "massive superspreader event"
  • The positivity rate in Rhode Island is now at 5.9%, according to the state’s Department of Health.
  • “Our cases are increasing so rapidly here, we literally today are making plans to put refrigerated trucks for morgue space outside of our hospitals and field hospitals,” said Dr. Forman.
  • Emergency room doctors said they are worried about the toll the pandemic is taking on healthcare workers

Dr. Laura Forman, chief of emergency medicine at Rhode Island's Kent Hospital, told CNBC that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the state "to the brink."

"Our ICU beds are nearly full in the state, our emergency departments are full, our hospitals are rapidly filling up," Forman said. "We're concerned Thanksgiving could be a massive superspreader event and push us out of the hospitals and into our field hospitals here."

The positivity rate in Rhode Island is now at 5.9%, according to the state's Department of Health. The cases, in turn, are quickly turning to hospitalizations. ICU beds are almost full, with 87% occupied statewide. In a Wednesday evening interview on "The News with Shepard Smith," Forman explained that what she's seeing in her state now, is unlike anything she has seen in her over 20 years of practicing medicine in the United States. 

"Our cases are increasing so rapidly here, we literally today are making plans to put refrigerated trucks for morgue space outside of our hospitals and field hospitals," Forman said. "This is unlike something we've seen in this country before. I'm worried about it."

The virus is at a dire point across the country, topping more than a quarter-million deaths and killing more than 1,700 Americans on Tuesday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. It was the deadliest day in six months. Hospitalizations hit more than 76,000, another all-time high according to the  Covid Tracking Project. 

Forman told host Shepard Smith that the toll the pandemic is taking on healthcare workers is tremendous, and that despite PPE, they're still getting sick with Covid-19. 

"One of our biggest concerns is that we will have too many staff out sick and be unable to staff some of our hospitals in the near future," Forman said. 

Dr. Bruce Becker, adjunct professor of behavioral medicine and social science at Brown University's School of Public Health, echoed Forman's concerns. 

"Very few health care workers that I know, mostly emergency health care workers, have managed to stay healthy in spite of taking care of many Covid patients," Becker said. 

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