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SVMHS COVID-19 Tent Update

SVMHS COVID-19 Tent Update

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is taking advantage of a significant decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations to take the large isolation tent down for deep cleaning, inspection and a few anticipated minor repairs. In addition to making sure the emergency facility is ready for future surges, the deconstruction offers the added benefit of creating additional space for patient parking.

doctor is full PPE gearDr. Allen Radner, Chief Medical Officer at SVMHS wants staff and the public alike to understand the development is not a signal that the COVID-19 threat is over.

“I think we are working under the assumption that we are in a lull between surges,” says Dr. Allen Radner, Chief Medical Officer at SVMHS. “We are incredibly hopeful that we won’t see another surge come back but as long as a large number of people have yet to be infected or remain unvaccinated, we have to prepare for what’s to come.”

The larger tent being decommissioned for cleaning is the one that is three separate isolation units joined by two tent hallways, all equipped with negative airflow. A smaller tent to the left of the Hospital’s ER entrance will continue to serve as a COVID-19 screening area.

tent being broken down

The engineering, facilities and emergency management teams erected both tents in March 2020, shortly after SVMHS activated its Hospital Incident Command Center in February 2020. For two years, the temporary facilities have provided a way for hospital staff to screen and test patients for COVID-19 in a safe environment. In a worst-case scenario, the larger tent with negative air pressure could have doubled as overflow ICU hospital rooms equipped to care for COVID-19 patients. While the isolation tent has been used for testing and caring for hundreds of COVID-19 patients, the mega surge measure that would have utilized it as an emergency hospital has not been required.

At the height of the surge, about half of the patient population at SVMHS were positive for the virus. SVMHS took several measures to support the community during the health crisis including:

  • Nurse education in agricultural fields to raise awareness and teach the importance of safety protocols
  • Established partnership with Grower Shipper Association to conduct daily visits, wellness screenings and medication dispensing for COVID-19 farmworkers quarantined in isolation
  • Created an innovative program that utilized staff for community and COVID-19 projects when the pandemic slow-down threatened to result in reduced hours or layoffs for staff
  • Regular COVID-19 newsletters, podcasts, Ask the Expert events and CEO video messages
  • COVID-19 community hotline manned by bilingual nursing staff
  • Provided free drive through testing locations for the public
  • Offered free public vaccination clinics
  • Virtual health and wellness classes and programs

tent equipment being broken down

At all times during the pandemic and especially in surge scenarios, SVMHS has worked with other local hospitals and the Monterey County Health Department to manage PPE, patient flow and medications.

To date, SVMHS staff have performed 46,731 COVID-19 tests resulting in detection of 7,232 positive cases. During the past two years, SVMHS has admitted and cared for 1,759 COVID-19 patients and experienced the devastating loss of 216 patients due to COVID-19.

Following the deep cleaning and repair, the tents will return to SVMHS and be on standby for redeployment.

Editor Note: Photos of SVMHS COVID-19 tents in March 2020 and dismantling effort this week, March 2022.

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About Salinas Valley memorial Healthcare System

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the region through an integrated network of health care initiatives, services and facilities. In addition to an acute care, public district hospital licensed for 263 beds, the system includes Salinas Valley Medical Clinic, a multi-location clinic expanding access to primary and specialty care, and offers 13 urgent care locations. SVMHS is one of the area’s largest employers with a staff of more than 2000, and is a leader in providing nationally recognized quality care. Collaboration is an important operating principle for SVMHS in such key areas as our Level III NICU which is operated in a joint venture with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford; The Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes, partnership with UCSF; Aspire Health Plan, Monterey County’s only Medicare Advantage program; Community Health Innovations and Blue Zones Project Monterey County, building a community where people live longer and live heathier. For more information, visit www.svmh.com.

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