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Updated COVID-19 Response Report

  • Category: COVID-19
  • Posted On:
Updated COVID-19 Response Report

As the hospitals across the U.S. continue to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are beginning to report on their response to the crisis. Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) is among them—assuring the community that the health system is fully prepared to address any health need, COVID-19 related or otherwise.

“As you know, at the beginning there were very strict guidelines around testing. Now, we’re able to test more freely without having so much restriction. Also, we had the luxury of time to be able to sharpen our processes here in the hospital, to make sure we're doing things in a safe manner and people feel comfortable,” states Carla Spencer, Registered Nurse and Director of Emergency Services at SVMH.

To listen to a full interview on this topic with Carla Spencer, Registered Nurse and Director of Emergency Services at SVMH, click here.

Outreach to the Agricultural Community

One initiative SVMH has engaged in is to help the agricultural community. Medical surgical director, Agnes Lalata, is leading this charge—sending nurses out to agriculture companies to educate on proper hand-washing, social distancing, the use of masks, and other ways to reduce spread of the virus.

“The Ag companies feel supported. At the end of the day, we in the medical community, we're the experts at this. So, it's one of our duties to get out there. We've provided education for hundreds, if not thousands, of field workers,” notes Spencer.

Why It’s Critical to NOT Delay Care

While the overall message, across all health systems, has been to try to stay away from the hospital if at all possible, Spencer wants community members to know that is not a directive to delay important care. The precautions and processes put in place by SVMHS were designed to ensure safety for those who suffer with chronic medical conditions or are experiencing an emergency. Unfortunately, many have waited too long before seeking help.

“When patients finally come in, they have been sitting on symptoms for, five days, seven days. By the time they get to the emergency department, they're very critical in nature. We've had many more code blues,” she shares. “It's really important people know that if they feel they need medical care, they're safe to come to the hospital. We have very sophisticated processes. All of our staff has been trained. They know how to separate the patient populations, as do our providers. Don't delay. You have to get that medical care, because sometimes it's too late if you wait.”

Where Can You Get a Test?

As Spencer mentioned, early testing was an obstacle. That has changed dramatically with both rapid antibody testing and swab testing now more readily available. Two swab testing locations are in Monterey County, one at Alisal High School and the other at Greenfield Library.

Spencer assures patients that whether or not you have symptoms, you can go to one of these testing sites. “This is not antibody testing. This is testing to see if you actually have COVID-19 presently. It's the same swab we do here in the hospital, but it’s available for the community now as well. Currently, they prioritize healthcare workers and first responders, and then the general public after that.”

For the most up-to-date information on testing and positive cases in Monterey County, click here.