By Kimberly Davis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Staffing during this major spike in coronavirus cases is the biggest concern of local doctors. Eyewitness News spoke with a local ER physician who shared his concerns and worries.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, doctors are concerned about overcrowded hospitals. One doctor says if we don’t act soon, hospitals could be at the critical tipping point by the spring.

“Our volumes are going up significantly, and it’s not so much physical space or a physical bed issue so much as it is staffing that can manage it,” said Southern Pennsylvania Emergency Physician Max Cooper.

Doctors say they see no sign that the pandemic will get better any time soon. They also say whatever we’re doing right now isn’t working.

“We haven’t given restaurants or schools or gathering places any new guidance. You’re allowed to have this many people, you’re not allowed to have that many people,” Dr. Cooper said.

Philadelphia just announced new restrictions for the city starting Nov. 20 until the new year. Places like gyms and museums will be closed, and indoor dining will no longer be permitted.

“If we don’t do something to change the trajectory of this epidemic, the hospitals will become full, they’ll have difficulty treating people and we’ll have between several hundred and more than a thousand deaths, just by the end of this year,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

Dr. Farley believes these new restrictions will help to slow the spread but unfortunately, some businesses won’t survive this second partial shutdown.

Dr. Cooper believes we need a plan from the top down to have long-term solutions.

“If we had help coming from Washington it would give us the flexibility to do what we know is right for people’s health. Instead, we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place where medically, health-wise, we know what to do,” Dr. Cooper said. “The problem is it’s going to cause economic devastation and we don’t have someone who is willing to bail us out.”

City officials say they will not prohibit people from leaving their homes and interacting with other people but they are strongly discouraging it because it’s increasingly unsafe to interact with anyone.

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Kimberly Davis