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    COVID-19: How Mayo Clinic is preparing to respond to a potential pandemic

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak progresses internationally and in the U.S., Mayo Clinic has been shifting its approach to preparedness in anticipation for the potential COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Pritish Tosh, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist, explains how Mayo is planning to respond to the potential for large-scale community spread of COVID-19.

a blue and gray shaded CDC global map with COVID-19 outbreaks identified by country and regions
Locations with confirmed COVID-19 cases, identified by the World Health Organization. Image Courtesy CDC 3/5/2020.

"We're preparing for the potential of a pandemic that we may need to take care of multiple (COVID-19) patients and really be ready for this. We've shifted gears over the last few weeks really towards this model and have moved toward a pandemic approach to our preparedness," says Dr. Tosh.

Watch: Dr. Tosh explains how Mayo Clinic is preparing to respond to COVID-19.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Pritish Tosh are in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy "Pritish Tosh, M.D./Infectious Diseases/Mayo Clinic."

"If we have challenges meeting our patient needs through conventional care, shifting to what are the contingencies? How do we meet the space, staff, supply needs that are preventing us from meeting our care needs, and then how do we shift what we're doing to make sure we're allocating the right resources of people, space and supplies so that we can meet those care needs," says Dr. Tosh.

"Looking at what the projections are for a potential pandemic with COVID-19, we would expect that with conventional care and possibly moving into some contingency care we should be able to meet the demands. But, of course, planning for the entire spectrum based on whatever it is: staff, space or supplies that is hindering us, we will make the appropriate adjustments to make sure that we can meet the needs of our patients, maintain the safety of our staff and protect the community."

Mayo Clinic used a pandemic approach in 2009 to prepare for and respond to the H1N1 influenza pandemic. Novel viruses such as COVID-19 create unique challenges, however Mayo Clinic staff are trained and prepared to care for patients with COVID-19.

Check the CDC website for additional updates on COVID-19.
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