Sonora Adventist Health
Sonora, California – Noting that “the current trends are frightening” and that “the next few months will be crucial,” Adventist Health Sonora (AHS) is implementing its ramp-up plan due to the peak of coronavirus cases in County of Tuolumne.
The plan is to set up a patient triage tent near the entrance to the emergency department. This will help supplement the current screening and assessment of patients with symptoms of COVID-19 while reducing the potential for exposure of other patients, visitors and facility staff, hospital officials say.
“This additional space will reduce congestion and allow us to see more patients while protecting those without symptoms of COVID-19 who visit us for routine care or other emergencies,” explains Michelle Fuentes, President from Adventist Health Sonora. “In the spring, we shut down a lot of our operations because we didn’t know what was going to happen with the pandemic. With our current increase, we have more knowledge about COVID-19, and we can take a step-by-step approach with more informed processes. “
The hospital will adopt these COVID-19 protocols:
For patients arriving by car, they will be screened and sorted at the entrance.
A medical provider will assess the patient in the triage tent or in an isolation room at the hospital, depending on the patient’s condition and the capacity of the hospital.
AHS notes that the Emergency Department, Yard Tent, and Car Side Assessments are not free state of California trial sites. Patients will receive care from emergency medical providers and their insurance will be billed for the visit.
“Please don’t let this deter you from seeking treatment,” says Alex Heard, MD, chief medical officer at Adventist Health Sonora. “During the spring push, we saw people across the country delay emergency care and suffer serious complications and death from often treatable illnesses like heart attack and stroke. We also saw more complications from untreated chronic illnesses. “
The hospital provided these instructions to the patients:
What to do if you suspect COVID-19:
For those with mild symptoms who suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19, the state testing site at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds may be an option. If an appointment is not readily available, new appointment times are added regularly. Appointments can be made online here or by calling 1-888-634-1123. Stay at home and avoid contact with others.
For moderate symptoms, patients are recommended to call their primary care physician, Indian Rock Rapid Care at 209-536-6680, call Angels Camp Rapid Care at 209-736-9130, or call COVID-19 counseling line at 209-536 5166. Following an examination of the patient, if the provider feels testing is necessary, referrals can be made to the in-car testing site at Adventist Health Sonora. The drive-up test site remains available, only by reference, from Monday to Friday.
For more severe symptoms, patients should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. Each hospital will have specific protocols for patients with symptoms of COVID-19.
Without symptoms of COVID-19:
As Adventist Health Sonora sees an increasing number of COVID-19 patients, staffing may need to be adjusted. As part of the emergency plan, planned procedures may need to be postponed to allow staff to deal with people with critical emergency care needs. Patients will be contacted if their appointment or procedure needs to be rescheduled.
With vaccine development underway, but no clear timeline for when one might be ready for widespread use, hospital officials are imploring everyone to take precautions and follow public health orders. Further, noting that face masks can slow the upward trend in coronavirus cases by protecting the wearer from inhaling harmful pathogens and particles and preventing exposure of those around them, Adventist Health joined 100 of the nation’s top healthcare systems to advocate for all Americans at #mask up. The group says wearing a face mask is the country’s best chance to slow the growing COVID-19 pandemic now.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding of our community as we adjust our operations on a daily basis to meet current needs,” says Fuentes. “Please do your part to prevent any further transmission of COVID-19. The people we love in our community are getting sick and dying from the coronavirus. Let’s all do our part and wear masks to protect each other. “