Flattening the curve and social distancing necessary to prevent overburdening of hospitals

RONCEVERTE, WV (WOAY) – Flattening the curve and social distancing are two phrases you may have heard recently during this pandemic.

The curve refers to the healthcare system’s capacity to treat patients. If communities practice social distancing and slow the rate of new infections, hospitals won’t get overwhelmed with a lot of new patients all at once. 

Bridgett Morrison, heath officer at the Greenbrier County Health Department, spoke with us today about the importance of flattening the curve. 

“Flattening the curve essentially means that limiting the new rate of infections spreads it out over a longer period, therefore resources aren’t limited,” Morrison said. 

Spreading out the rate of infection over a longer period means that hospitals don’t reach their capacity. Ventilators are one issue with overburdening the healthcare system. Beckley ARH has only 14 ventilators for instance. If too many people develop serious symptoms at once and have breathing difficulty, accommodating all of the patients that need ventilators will be difficult.

Staying home and only going out when necessary are the easiest ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

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