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Adventist Health Sonora Taking Preventative Actions Related To COVID-19

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Sonora, CA — The Chief Medical Officer for Adventist Health Sonora tells Clarke Broadcasting that they are both planning for today and what could occur in the future related to COVID-19.

Dr. Alexander Heard says, “As always, the safety of our patients, and staff, and physicians, is our top priority.”

Detailing an action plan, he says, “The primary goal is to separate the patients that could be at risk for the COVID-19. So, we would request that anyone who is concerned that they have symptoms, fever and a cough, and may have been exposed to somebody, please call into the system first. Then we can triage and screen them appropriately and direct them to the right location for care.”

The first contact should be the patient’s regular physician, and if they do not have one, call the main hospital number at 536-5000.

For patients that simply arrive at an urgent care center, or ER, there is a number on the door to call before coming inside so that they can be screened and directed where to go.

Dr. Heard adds, “And just a note, we are planning to do a lot of the screening in the car, so that they will stay out of the hospital, and to limit exposure.”

Dr. Heard says “self-care” is the most important prevention step, and that includes washing hands, avoiding shaking hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

He stresses, “We are currently adequately staffed to take care of our patients, and as part of being a piece of the Adventist Health system, we have  access to some wider resources, that if we run out of supplies, we can get more.”

Also, if patients need assistance with their appointments at Adventist Health Sonora they are currently allowed to bring one person, otherwise, they should come to any appointments alone.

It is noted, to this point, Tuolumne County has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Additional information from Adventist Health Sonora is listed below: 

To reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, Adventist Health Sonora is taking several precautionary measures:

– We have been calling patients 24 hours before scheduled appointments to make sure they are not experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness.

– If the patient is experiencing symptoms, a registered nurse or advanced practice provider talks with them to better understand their symptoms and to make sure they receive the appropriate care.

-To protect patients and staff in our emergency department and both Rapid Care locations, we are asking patients with respiratory illness to call from their car when they arrive, and staff will screen the patient in their car and move them to the appropriate care setting as needed.

To protect patients in all areas, we are enacting temporary visiting policies:

– Patients will be limited to one visitor. If that visitor displays any sign of illness, he or she will be asked to stay home.

– Patients with doctors’ appointments will be asked to come to their appointment alone unless they require assistance. We ask that they only bring one person to help at their appointment and be sure that person is not ill.

– We are enacting stricter policies to protect our residents at the Sierra Care Center, who have been deemed most at risk during this outbreak. For anyone wishing to visit their loved one in long-term care, we recommend calling first for the most updated information.

· We are encouraging members of our community who have symptoms of respiratory disease to call their primary care physician first. Do not come to the hospital emergency department unless you are experiencing an emergency.

· Please be aware that this year’s flu season has been particularly severe. If you have not received your flu shot for the 2019-2020 flu season, it is not too late.

Please help keep your family and your community healthy:

– Do not leave home if you have symptoms of a viral illness such as a cough or fever.

– If you live with someone with compromised immunities, , such as a cancer patient, you need to remember that you could be the transmitter of a viral illness to them. Please take appropriate personal precautions.

– Refrain from hand shaking.

– Practice frequent and proper hand hygiene.

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

– Masks are not recommended as a preventive tactic for those who are well.

– Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

– Clean and disinfect frequently touched object and surfaces.