Sign up to receive the most comprehensive resources related to COVID-19.
Two emergency physicians, one in his 40s in Washington state and a 70-year-old New Jersey doctor, are in critical condition after contracting COVID-19, according to a national physicians group.
In Patterson, N.J., the physician is in charge of emergency preparedness at his organization, which the American College of Emergency Physicians declined to name. The doctor was admitted to the hospital a few days ago with upper respiratory problems and remains in isolation in its intensive-care unit, according to a news release from ACEP.
It is not known whether the Washington case is an example of occupational transmission or community-based spread of the virus. This ER physician complied at all times with appropriate personal protective equipment procedures, ACEP said.
"I am deeply saddened by this news, but not surprised," ACEP President Dr. William Jaquis said. "As emergency physicians, we know the risks of our calling. We answer the call to care for our most vulnerable, even at great personal risk. Knowing that, I urge each of you to meticulously follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself."
Last week, ACEP joined the Emergency Nurses Association in writing a letter to Congress asking for an increase in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HHS. The hope was that funding would be used to improve hospital preparedness and develop medical treatments.
On Friday, President Donald Trump declared the virus outbreak a state of emergency, freeing up to $50 million in federal disaster-relief funding and giving the HHS secretary more authority to waive some Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program requirements. Federal officials also advised hospitals to delay elective procedures to free up space and keep noninfected people from coming into contact with those potentially carrying the virus.