And hospitals also have to ramp up coronavirus testing of patients scheduled for surgeries to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to hospital staff and other patients. A recent survey by Premier, which buys medical supplies on behalf of many U.S. hospitals, suggests hospitals would have to more than triple their current testing capacity to begin resuming their services.
Given the high demand, hospitals could have trouble getting swabs and testing reagents. While officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have said they will be providing supplies to state governments, it is not clear how the products will be distributed, said Meg Wyatt, an executive with Premier. “Our health systems are flying blind to develop a ramp up plan,” she said.
The agency says state governments determine the distribution of the supplies within their state.
In former hot spots, hospitals that have treated large numbers of coronavirus patients may have the hardest time convincing people to come in for something routine.