Tuesday, November 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update from Sharp Coronado Hospital

Sharp Coronado Hospital CEO Susan Stone

With the renewed concerns about COVID-19 exposure, we reached out to Sharp Coronado Hospital Chief Executive Officer Susan Stone, PhD RN FACHE, for answers to questions about our local hospital, physicians, COVID-19 testing availability and statistics, infection data, exposure protocol, safety precautions, and other pertinent information to help keep the community informed and proactive during these uncertain times. We are all in this together and it is important to thank and recognize our healthcare workers who are on the frontline of this medical crisis. It is also vital to remember that we are all learning together and being kind to those in the businesses and restaurants we frequent and respectful to our fellow residents by wearing a mask, which goes a long way.

  • Are you doing COVID testing at the hospital? Yes, Sharp Coronado Hospital COVID-19 testing is performed within the Sharp HealthCare system. All hospital specimens are processed at the Sharp HealthCare Laboratory.
  • Are you doing antibody testing? Yes, at Sharp Coronado Hospital COVID-19 antibody testing is available; this is only available through physician orders. Sharp recently published an article: The Truth About Antibody Testing that can be found here.
  • How much does it cost and does insurance cover it? The COVID-19 emergency orders require that the patient’s insurance cover the cost of COVID testing at no cost to the consumer. If someone does not have a primary care physician, we can provide you a referral to a local physician and/or to a low- or no-cost testing site available in the community. Call us at 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).
  • What’s the procedure to get a test there?  Physicians at our facility order COVID-19 testing for patients based medical screening examinations and the indicated clinical need of the patient. If the patient meets the criteria for a COVID-19 test, a caregiver will take a nasal swab and send it to the laboratory. The laboratory also receives COVID-19 specimens collected by physician offices. Please contact your doctor to discuss availability of COVID-19 testing. Please call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277) if in need of a physician referral or more information about COVID-19 testing.
  • Do you have a list of Sharp physicians who are doing testing in their offices?  We accept specimens from all physician offices. If someone does not have a primary care physician or his or her physician is not able to accommodate testing, we can provide a referral to a local physician and/or to a low- or no-cost community clinic. Call us at 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).
  • Is there a shortage of tests available? While testing supplies have increased, we need to protect against shortages that could result if we test everyone. People who think they need to be tested should call their primary care doctor. If appropriate, your doctor will advise you on where to go for testing.
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At this time, public health experts recommend testing only for patients where testing would change the course of treatment. Most COVID-19 cases will be mild, and the test is not necessary for those patients.

To determine who should be tested, we use the guidelines and criteria set forth by the CDC and Public Health Services:

    • Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
    • Other symptomatic individuals who are considered high-risk for COVID-19. These include older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).
    • Any persons, including health care personnel, who had close contact with a suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset.
  • How long does it take to get results? At Sharp Coronado Hospital, inpatient COVID-19 testing averages less than 24 hours, outpatient testing currently averages 48-72 hours.
  • Are you treating COVID patients at Sharp Coronado hospital? Sharp Coronado Hospital is indeed providing care to COVID-19 patients. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have prepared our team and facility to provide the best in care for COVID-19 patients.
  • How many have you treated since March? We have had a total of 37 patients admitted for COVID-19.  As of July 9, 2020 at 12 pm, we have six COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized.
  • How many patients can you handle? We have a dedicated COVID Care Unit housing 12 beds; we have a phased surge plan in place with the potential to increase bed capacity to 74 patients.
  • How many ventilators do you have? We have a total of 28 ventilators on site.
  • What steps do you recommend if someone thinks they’ve been exposed? What steps do you recommend if someone has symptoms?  Is this standard across the nation, or do you have any other tips? Please call your doctor’s office or health care provider if you think you need to be evaluated for COVID-19. They will advise you on the best next steps. We also have a team ready to answer your questions about COVID-19. Call us at 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277). Sharp is prepared to support the health and safety of our patients, staff and caregivers. We’re monitoring COVID-19 daily, working closely with health officials at all levels. We have created an online resource where community members can access COVID-19 specific information – this resource can be found at https://www.sharp.com/coronavirus/
  • What special precautions do you have in place? We’re taking these extra precautions to keep you and our care teams safe:
    • Treating patients with COVID-19 symptoms in areas separate from other patients such as the respiratory care tent outside the Emergency Room and the COVID Care Unit
    • Special check-in procedures to reduce face-to-face interactions
    • Health screenings at facility entrances for all patients, doctors and staff
    • All patients and visitors are encouraged to wear their own cloth face covering upon arrival to a Sharp facility. Patients with influenza-like illness will be given a standard mask.
    • Signs are placed outside the entryway of each facility asking patients to put on a mask if they have symptoms associated with a viral illness.
    • Free delivery of prescriptions from the Coronado Community Pharmacy
    • Regular cleaning of facilities and equipment, including high-tech disinfecting robots

It is important to seek emergency care right away if anyone is experiencing:

    • Severe abdominal pain
    • A fracture with a bone coming through the skin
    • A significant head injury
    • Sudden and severe headaches
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Behavior that puts oneself or others at risk
  • Can you give statistics on how many people have done tests locally and how many of those have come back positive versus negative? As of July 9, 2020, Sharp Coronado Hospital has processed and resulted 5,232 tests: 248 have been positive (4.74%), 4,984 (95%) have been negative. We are currently pending results for 168 that are being processed at this time.
  • When you have a positive patient, how do you report it to the county? As required, Sharp Coronado Hospital reports all positive COVID-19 laboratory results to the San Diego County Public Health Department.
  • Best recommendations to stay safe?  We follow the Centers for Disease control        Recommendations that include:

Wash your hands often

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • It’s especially important to wash:
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • Before touching your face
      • After using the restroom
      • After leaving a public place
      • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After handling your cloth face covering
      • After changing a diaper
      • After caring for someone sick
      • After touching animals or pets
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Do NOT use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Monitor Your Health Daily

    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
      • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
    • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Additional information is available from the Center for Disease Control:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Sharp.com is also another valuable resource.

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Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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