Our world has seemed like a different place since June 15, when vaccinated Californians could suddenly go out without masks in most places, with the exception of healthcare facilities, schools, public transportation, prisons, and homeless shelters. It’s helpful to still always have a mask on hand though, e.g. since many Coronadans ride the ferry, a ferry ride falls under public transportation. With much greater autonomy, businesses and restaurants are allowed to operate at capacity and require masks at their own discretion (another reason for even the vaccinated to have a mask in your pocket, tote, or on your wrist). Many people are excited about theaters opening back up and musicians performing live concerts, while others remain cautious of crowds as they get back to more normal routines.
Throughout the ongoing pandemic, Sharp Coronado Hospital has been a beacon of caring and resilience as they cared for the sick, offered advice, and were a strong community support system. Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Coronado Hospital, Susan Stone, PhD, shared some updated details, more than a year after the pandemic began.
Can you share your insights on the Delta variant and other COVID-19 variants?
We continue to track all the COVID-19 genotype variants including the Delta variant being discussed regularly in the media. With the emphasis on achieving the 75% vaccination rates of those eligible to receive the vaccine in San Diego County, we are anticipating while this variant may soon be the predominant variant, it will not cause a large number of hospitalizations, especially among those who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The San Diego County vaccination dashboard is updated regularly and can be found here: https://sdcounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/c0f4b16356b840478dfdd50d1630ff2a
What are your thoughts/policies on mask wearing for the non-vaccinated?
We support the local, state, and federal guidance regarding the use of masks with an emphasis on the need for un-vaccinated persons to continue to practice protective measures including wearing masks. Over the last year, we have witnessed how wearing masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene all help protect exposure to the COVID-19 virus and other highly-transmissible viruses, including influenza.
With the new guidelines and less restrictions, what do you recommend as the best way to stop the spread of the virus?
Vaccination is the number one way everyone in our community can prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Many people seem to think ‘it’s over.’ With San Diego as a prominent tourist destination, and Coronado as well, for people from all over, should we be concerned?
Continuing our efforts to encourage everyone to be vaccinated is the best way for us to prevent the COVID-19 virus from impacting our community. We know the COVID-19 virus continues to change with many variants being identified. We will continue to track and monitor these new variants, their susceptibility to the U.S.-approved vaccinations along with maintaining vigilance in the treatments for those impacted by COVID-19.
Can you give us an update on COVID patients currently in the hospital and statistics since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sharp Coronado Hospital currently has no COVID-19 patients in house. Since March 1, 2020, Sharp Coronado Hospital has performed 6,995 COVID-19 laboratory tests, the hospital discharged home 1,542 COVID-19 patients and 49 patients died as a result of COVID-19.
Do you anticipate a booster COVID vaccine being recommended? What might the timing be?
We are following the national discussion regarding COVID-19 vaccine boosters. There has not been a decision made; however, should this be necessary, we will be coordinating with local, state, and federal officials and health care providers to ensure our community access is a priority.
How have the safety protocols at hospitals and doctor’s offices changed since June 15, 2021?
Because we continue to care for COVID-19 patients, all health care providers must maintain preventive protocols to prevent employee, patient, and community exposure. We maintain compliance with all regulatory requirements from local, state, and federal agencies and if there is a difference between the guidance, we defer to the most conservative guideline.
What are the projections for this fall’s flu season?
We have not yet seen any projections for the coming flu season. We know that last year the flu season was dramatically reduced as a result of the masking, social distancing, and increased emphasis on hand hygiene.
Since the Community Center vaccination site closed due to decreased demand, after administering 50,000 doses, is the Sharp Pharmacy the best place to get the vaccine now? Which vaccines – Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson – are available? Can the public make reservations or simply walk in Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm? How long should they expect to wait?
Since transitioning the Coronado Community COVID Vaccine Program to the Coronado Community Pharmacy located at 230 Prospect Place, Suite 110, we have consistently served approximately 50+ individuals per day. We offer all of the approved vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson). Although appointments are preferred, the team has accommodated walk-in visits as well. The wait can vary, depending on demand. To make an appointment, visit myturn.ca.gov.