Don’t delay vital health care needs
We all have one thing in common: our lives have been impacted by COVID-19. As the virus spread throughout Northern California, families, businesses and communities put the health of others first. They stayed home and limited outings to essential activities. This even extended to medical care.
Only the very sickest patients with emergent health needs visited hospitals. Nearly all other medical care was put on hold.
At St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County, our team of doctors and caregivers met the challenges of this pandemic by following public health guidance, implementing new safety protocols, isolating patients with COVID-19, securing personal protective equipment (PPE) and expanding our capacity to care for more COVID-19 positive patients in the event the need arose.
Because of the sacrifices of so many of you, we have successfully avoided the steep increases in incidents of COVID-19 that other areas of the country have experienced and are transitioning into a new phase of managing this disease.
Our hospitals and physicians are now thoughtfully moving forward with essential medical care and recognizing delaying care has serious consequences.
The threat of COVID-19 remains and it requires hospitals to create a “new normal” that expands safety protocols and social distancing measures to protect anyone who walks through our doors.
Every person entering the hospital is first screened for COVID-19, including all our frontline caregivers and doctors. All incoming patients with symptoms of the virus are cared for in an area that is apart from the rest of the patient population.
Emergency departments are staffed and stocked with protective equipment and ready to care for those who need us under the strictest of safety measures.
New safety guidelines and protocols are rigidly adhered to in our emergency rooms and treatment areas. Surgical review committees help assess cases against clear criteria to ensure patients get the care they need as we gradually return to performing these essential procedures.
Throughout our facilities, cleaning and disinfecting protocols have been amplified and we continue to maintain necessary levels of personal protective equipment for patients and caregivers.
With the utmost precaution, we must continue to observe our no-visitor policy so we can reduce traffic in our hospitals. Although it is less than ideal, these steps help us limit any potential risk of spreading the virus.
Rest assured, we have capacity to care for both patients with and without COVID-19. If we face a surge in COVID-19 cases, we have plans in place to seamlessly adjust to meet the needs of such a moment.
Don’t delay taking care of yourself. The medical community takes your health and safety seriously; it’s why we do what we do.
As you continue to do your part to fight COVID-19, we will continue to do ours, by ensuring we’re here for you when you need us, providing safe care around the clock.
(Tyler Hedden is CEO of St. Joseph Health, Northern California region)