As the number of COVID cases surges, healthcare professionals continue to diligently work on the frontline of this pandemic for what’s been much longer than anyone originally anticipated. To learn about the latest Coronado statistics and get an update about flu and COVID vaccines, as well as ask about going to the emergency room, we talked to Susan Stone, CEO of Sharp Coronado Hospital, who said, “Safety has always been our top priority. While you may be concerned about seeking care at this time, we want to reassure you that we are taking extra precautions to deliver safe care to you and your loved ones. You should never delay care for a potentially serious condition.”
How many COVID patients have you treated to date, both outpatient and inpatient?
- Inpatient and overnight COVID-19 patients discharged from March 1 – December 4 = 94
- Outpatient Emergency Room COVID-19 patients discharged March 1 – December 4 = 485
- COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized today = 15
Please give an update on COVID-related deaths
We have recorded a total of six COVID-19 related deaths March 1 – December 4.
How many COVID tests have been done locally?
Sharp Coronado Hospital has processed 17,213 specimens, of which 627 were positive (3.6%), 16,568 were negative (96%) and 107 are pending results at this time for COVID-19.
Have your procedures changed for getting tested?
We have had no changes recently in our procedures for obtaining COVID-19 testing. We continue to support our hospital-based and community-based physicians in processing specimens ordered, collected, and delivered to our hospital laboratory for processing.
What are the various types of testing available?
COVID-19 testing types available include:
- PCR-RNA testing – the preferred method for COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients;
- Antibody testing – limited use for ruling out Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and patients who have ongoing multiple negative COVID-19 testing, however, remain symptomatic consistent for COVID-19; and
- Antigen testing – Sharp HealthCare is working on protocol development for patients being considered for monoclonal antibody therapy.
Are there sufficient tests available?
We continue to work with testing equipment vendors and supply manufacturers to secure the testing equipment, reagents, kits, and other supplies needed for testing. We rely on the allocations initially assigned to our organization and participate in regular discussions regarding our need and desire to increase allocations whenever possible.
Can you give your expert opinion on the COVID vaccine with regards to who should take it. Do you anticipate it being free for everyone? What’s the latest on availability dates for our area?
“Ideally, everyone would receive this vaccine, but it is important for all patients to consult with their primary care physician to validate there are no restrictions,” says Mike Kruse, PharmD, Manager, Pharmacy Clinical Services at Sharp HealthCare. “After FDA approval, it is the role of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to use the studies or expert opinion to recommend who should receive the vaccine.” He adds, “the vaccine should be free or covered by insurance.”
“Vaccines will be available in four tiers between December through next year as each vaccine is considered by the FDA and the vaccine is manufactured. Operation Warp Speed has the best estimates on how much vaccine will be released each month, and the ACIP recommends which subpopulations are in each tier based on risk.”
Are you still offering flu vaccines, and do you recommend getting the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is still available through the Coronado Community Pharmacy, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, and no appointment is needed. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the flu season overlapping, everyone is encouraged to participate in the flu vaccination process, unless otherwise contraindicated. For more information, call 619-522-3996.
For emergencies that are not life- or limb-threatening, the emergency department offers online scheduling at sharp.com/coronadoscheduling. For life- or limb-threatening emergencies, call 911 immediately.