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How to get the care you need and stay safe from COVID-19

  • Category: COVID-19
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How to get the care you need and stay safe from COVID-19

Many hospitals throughout the country are treating people who are infected with coronavirus COVID-19. Understandably, this situation has made some people uncomfortable or concerned about getting emergency care. Although being concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19 is a natural reaction, putting off critical care is dangerous and could expose you to serious long-term health complications.

At Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, we’ve taken a number of steps to ensure that your experience is safe no matter why you need to come to the hospital. For more detailed information about the importance of getting care when you need it, and the steps we’ve taken to address COVID-19, listen to our experts in the podcast and video below.

Podcast interview with emergency room physician Misty Navarro, MD

Video interview with emergency room nurse Martha Vargas, RN

Overall, our primary goal is to keep you safe and healthy – as we respond to COVID-19 and whenever you need us. It’s important to realize that we are following strict policies to prevent the spread of infection. Your caregivers are very aware of the threat of COVID-19. They will do everything they can to keep you safe. Here are some steps we are taking and what you can do while in the hospital as well.

What we are doing to keep all patients safe:

  • Screening for COVID-19. Those who come to the hospital will have their temperature taken. They’ll be asked about any symptoms, such as a fever, a cough, or shortness of breath. They may be asked if they’ve had contact with anyone who’s been diagnosed with the virus.
  • Triaging and treating patients who have COVID-19 in a separate area. To help limit the spread of the infection, we have staff members who treat only these patients.
  • Limiting visitors. View our current visitor guidelines and restrictions here.
  • Following guidelines for infection prevention. These include frequent hand-washing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
  • All staff members are wearing masks at all times.

What you can do to stay safe

We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Here are some things you can do while you’re in the hospital.

  • Talk to staff. Never be afraid to ask for information or help. We are here for you.
  • Stay in your room unless directed otherwise. This will limit your exposure to the virus. 
  • Wash your hands often. If you are able to get out of bed, wash your hands well and often. Use soap and water, and scrub for 20 seconds. Then rinse and dry them well. Always wash them after you use the bathroom, before you eat, and after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose. If you can’t get up, use hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
  • Accept that you may not have many visitors. It may be lonely for you, but this policy is for your safety and the safety of others. You can connect with family and friends using your phone or computer. If you need something brought from home, such as glasses or a phone charger, find out where at the hospital the item can be dropped off.
  • Speak up if you have safety concerns. Don’t be shy to ask people about how we are keeping you safe by washing our hands, wearing masks and taking other precautions that might not be as visible.

If you have questions about any of this information, you can ask your primary care doctor. Also, make sure to call 9-1-1 if you are having a medical emergency.