DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a team effort shared by everyone across the globe, the nation, and the commonwealth. A former Dunmore Buck is now on the frontlines down in the Lone Star State.
While San Antonio expects to see their first major surge in the next couple of weeks, they have a bit of an advantage. Dr. Ralph Riviello graduated from Dunmore High School in 1986 and has had a wealth of experience preparing him for this moment since then.
From humble beginnings in northeast Pennsylvania to heavily-hit Alleghany County and Philadelphia, Dr. Riviello has been building a resume and connections with almost tailor-made to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been in contact with some friends and colleagues that are still in Philadelphia getting some updates and information. We’re reaching out to colleagues all over the country,” Dr. Riviello said.
Riviello says there’s more preparation down south with fewer cases. He says all due to early stay-at-home and shutdown orders in the San Antonio area.
“We predict that our surge will probably happen within the next few weeks because we were able to flatten that curve and we don’t think it’ll be as high as initially predicted but those are only based on the predictive models,” Dr. Riviello said.
On his journey to Texas, Riviello has seen the frontlines of infectious disease scares in Philadelphia with the ebola virus. Now, his department in San Antonio is preparing for the fight of their lives.
“There’s a lot of planning, coordination and drilling of scenarios,” Dr. Riviello said.
Drawing on his experiences from the cities of steel and brotherly love may make the difference.
“There is a ton of information exchanged by physicians around what they’re experiencing, what worked, what didn’t work and how they’re handling PPE and certain procedures,” Dr. Riviello said.
As well as focusing on the silver lining…
“We’re not focusing on the death, but we’re focusing on the recovery and what we could do based on those people who recover to help those who are currently sick and fighting it,” Dr. Riviello said.
Dr. Riviello tells Eyewitness News the wide network among his peers and their experiences has been an invaluable source of information as Texas braces for the worst. Currently, the emergency medicine department at the University of Texas Hospital San Antonio is doing those drills constantly and Riviello is hoping to make everyone in his hometown proud with his work down there.
Bexar County, where Dr. Riviello is on the frontlines, accounts for 890 of all the cases total in Texas.