The Hill

UPMC Emphasizes Need To Protect The Elderly As Pennsylvania Prepares To Reopen

There are plans to lift the stay-at-home orders over in Pennsylvania and medical experts seem to agree with it provided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines remain enforced. And for as long as this is in place, UPMC officials believe that it would be safe for families to visit their loved ones on Mother's Day for as long as they practice proper distancing and hygiene precautions.

But of course, there will be exceptions. It remains that safeguarding elders remain a priority. It has been repeatedly mentioned that elder people remain at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, particularly the ones who may have some preexisting medical condition.

“I think having a visit with your mother in a small group with appropriate distancing and all the usual hygiene precautions makes sense,” Dr. Don Yealy, UPMC’s chair of emergency medicine, said at a press briefing. “With a few exceptions, you can go out and share some of that special time if you’re careful. You can do that this weekend, and you can do it going forward.”

Yealy also pointed out how they were able to achieve their goal of flattening the curve over in Western Pennsylvania. He, however, cautioned that infection may recur and that the only question right now is when.

But it appears Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine has some reservations about the plans, preferring that phase categories should dictate whether it would be safe to visit a loved one at the homes or not, reported. She believes that regions still under the red phase would best observe Mother's Day traditions virtually. As far as other those under the yellow phase, in-person visits are doable for as long as they are done in private homes and not nursing homes.

“I’m not sure if Dr. Yealy may have misspoken, but for the counties that are in the yellow phase, that would be permitted,” Nate Wardle, spokesman for the Department of Health, wrote in an email. “For counties in the red phase, this would violate the stay-at-home order.”

Yealy's comments have drawn criticism, both good and bad. But as far as alleging that it violates the stay-at-home order, he feels otherwise. He reiterated the fact that he was not suggesting a large group get-together. Despite allegedly curbing down numbers, fears of a possible spike or even new cases are in the air.

However, Dr. Amesh Adalja believes that a rise in cases resulting from Yealy's suggestion does not put public health at greater risk.  He noted that whether an area’s health care infrastructure can handle new cases is what officials are tracking. As far as the Southwest region is concerned, Adalja believes it can.

elderly People with economic hardships for four or more years in their adult life age faster than well off counterparts. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

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