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SVMHS COVID 19 Update

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SVMHS COVID 19 Update

Latest Information

To date, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) has elevated eight cases and provided specimens to the Monterey County Health Department for testing. As of 11am on Tuesday, March 17 all eight results for COVID 19 were negative.

On Monday, March 16, SVMHS began staffing what’s called an alternative care site – essentially three isolation tents outside the ER. The alternative care site is being used in conjunction with a triage tent immediately outside the ER entrance which began operations on Thursday, March 12.

Process

The additional emergency care resources are being used to screen people with respiratory symptoms. The process is designed to keep people with symptoms consistent with COVID 19 a safe distance from other emergency room patients and visitors to help prevent the spread of the virus.

If a patient screened in the triage tent meets the medical criteria to warrant additional examination, medical personnel escort the person to the alternative care site where additional screening can take place in an isolation environment. If the person meets CDC guidelines, lab draws are done which consists of a nose and throat swab. Those specimens are then sent to the Monterey County Health Department for testing. It’s important to note, no COVID 19 testing is done at any of the local hospital sites. All testing is done by the Monterey County Health Department.

Patients concerned about minor symptoms consistent with COVID 19 are urged not to show up at a local hospital emergency room. The Monterey County Health Department encourages people to contact their primary care physician to discuss symptoms and risk factors such as age, travel history and contact with any person known to be positive with COVID 19.

Early Proactive Response

Local health care leaders began monitoring developments in Wuhan, China when the virus was first reported in December 2019. The Monterey County Health Department and all four area hospitals (SVMHS, Montage Health, Natividad and Mee Memorial) began conversations and coordination in January 2020 about proactive and precautionary measures should the virus spread. Representatives from each of those organizations are in daily contact and participate in weekly meetings to collaborate and coordinate policies and procedures to protect the health of the community.

SVMHS Timeline

  • 03-16-20 SVMHS began operating an alternative care site near the Emergency Room. The alternative care site is being used in conjunction with a triage tent to screen people with respiratory ailments to help stop the spread of COVID 19 and prevent other patients from potentially being exposed to the virus.
  • 03-12-20 A triage tent outside the ER entrance is used to screen people with respiratory illnesses to determine if they meet criteria for COVID 19 testing. The screening is based on medical assessment of symptoms, severity of symptoms and factors such as travel and age.
  • 02-10-20 SVMHS activates what’s known as HICS (pronounced HICKS) – our Hospital Incident Command System. It sets into motion a predetermined organizational command chart with people acting in various capacities and outlining roles and responsibilities. It ensures operations in any disaster or emergency situation are effective and efficient.

To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID 19 in Monterey County. The Monterey County Health Department and our local hospital partners are working together with unpresented action and coordination to help prevent the spread of the virus.