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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Pediatric Hospitals Look At How They Can Help Fight COVID-19

A doctor at Cincinnati Children's has spearheaded an effort to get COVID-19 resources to other hospitals who need it.

Since children don't seem to be a big target of COVID-19, doctors at pediatric hospitals nationwide are pooling their resources to recommend how they can help. Cincinnati Children's Dr. Ashley Jenkins is the co-founder of POPCoRN, or the Pediatric Overflow Planning Contingency Response Network.

Dr. Jenkins says the original idea was to convert pediatric hospitals into facilities that could accept adult patients. That has happened in a few places like New York, Detroit and New Orleans.

Credit Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Dr. Ashley Jenkins, hospitalist at Cincinnati Children's and co-founder of POPCoRN.

But with many states plateauing and moving past their surge, Jenkins says, "(We're) thinking through what is healthcare going to look like as we deal with COVID over the coming months?"

The POPCoRN networkis a place where doctors can access educational materials, become part of a working group and join virtual Zoom meetings.

As hospitals think about taking in adult patients, Jenkins says they need to make sure the kids already hospitalized are getting the care the need, and they have extra beds, staff and equipment to treat adults.

Credit Leah Ratner
Global Health Fellow Dr. Leah Ratner, Boston Children's Hospital

Co-founder Dr. Leah Ratner of Boston Children's Hospital, says the group is trying to be as pandemic and community responsive as possible. "Meaning, as the needs of each individual community, institution, individual member and participant, with the changing tide of the pandemic, we are continuing to collaborate in the most beneficial way for those folks."

Ratner, who recently had to be evacuated from Peru where she was working, says "This pandemic has unmasked social inequity that we've long known about." She says it's important to strengthen relationships and reallocate resources.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.