Mar 30, 2020 - Health

Health care workers in the calm before the coronavirus storm

A hospital in Pennsylvania. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Several parts of the country have not been overwhelmed by coronavirus cases yet, but hospitals are sitting in what they view as the calm before the storm.

The bottom line: Health care workers in these relatively quiet areas are urging people to stay home for the foreseeable future so they don't become the next coronavirus hotspot.

What we're hearing: Workers in areas that haven't tallied large numbers of coronavirus cases know more are coming, and they want their communities to take social distancing seriously.

  • Ohio was among the first states to shut down businesses and urge people to stay at home, which has helped keep cases manageable, said Robert Wyllie, the head of medical operations at Cleveland Clinic. The hospital system projects peak COVID-19 cases will come within the next four to eight weeks, and cases likely will consume at least half of the system's beds, Wyllie said.
  • Michael Ring, a cardiologist at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, sits on the opposite end of the state from Seattle. Their staff are delaying almost all procedures because they "don't want patients to come to the office," he said on a conference call last week.
  • The Montana Hospital Association asked for a shelter-in-place declaration last week, and Gov. Steve Bullock issued it a day later.

The big picture: The Trump administration has not issued a national order for people to stay at home, but providers think it's time to do so.

  • "It makes more sense to do it as a nation as opposed to some states doing and some states not," Wyllie said. "To be effective, we should all do it together."

Go deeper: Doctors and nurses urge public to stay home

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Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

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Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department late Tuesday following reports of police kettling in protesters on Manhattan Bridge.

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Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).