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Triage Tent To Go Up At Adventist Health Sonora

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Sonora, CA – Noting that “the current trends are frightening” and that the “next several months will be critical,” Adventist Health Sonora (AHS) is implementing its surge plan due to the spike in coronavirus case in Tuolumne County.

The plan involves setting up a patient triage tent near the emergency department entrance. This will help to supplement the current drive-thru screening and evaluating of patients with COVID-19 symptoms while reducing the potential for exposure to other patients, visitors and staff in facilities, according to hospital officials.

“This additional space will reduce congestion and allow us to see more patients while protecting those without COVID-19 symptoms who are visiting us for routine care or other emergencies,” explains Michelle Fuentes, Adventist Health Sonora president. “In the spring, we shut down much of our operations because we did not know what was going to happen with the pandemic. With our current surge, we have more knowledge about COVID-19, and we can take a phased approach with more informed processes.”

The hospital will be enacting these COVID-19 protocols:

For patients arriving by car, they will be screened and triaged at the entrance.

A medical provider will either evaluate the patient in the triage tent or in an isolation room in the hospital, depending on the patient’s condition and hospital capacity.

AHS notes that the emergency department, triage tent and car-side evaluations are not free California state testing sites. Patients will receive care from emergency department medical providers and their insurance will be billed for the visit.

“Please do not let this situation deter you from seeking care,” says Alex Heard, MD, chief medical officer at Adventist Health Sonora. “During the spring surge, we witnessed people across the country delay care for emergency situations and suffer severe complications and death from often treatable conditions such as heart attack and stroke. We also saw more complications from untreated chronic conditions.”

The hospital provided these instructions for patients:

What to do if you suspect COVID-19:

For those with mild symptoms who suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19, the state testing site at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds may be an option. If an appointment is not readily available, new appointment times are added regularly. Appointments can be made online here or by calling 1-888-634-1123. Stay home and avoid contact with others.

For moderate symptoms, patients are recommended to call their primary care physician, call Indian Rock Rapid Care at 209-536-6680, call Angels Camp Rapid Care at 209-736-9130, or call the COVID-19 advice line at 209-536 5166. Following a patient exam, if the provider feels testing is necessary, referrals can be made to the drive-up testing site at Adventist Health Sonora. The drive-up testing site remains available, by referral only, Monday through Friday.

For more severe symptoms, patients should go to their nearest emergency room or call 911. Each hospital will have specific protocols for patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

Without COVID-19 symptoms:

As Adventist Health Sonora sees increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, staffing may need to be adjusted. As part of the surge plan, scheduled procedures may need to be rescheduled to allow staff to care for those with critical emergency care needs. Patients will be contacted in the event their appointment or procedure needs to be rescheduled.

With vaccine development in the works, but no definite timeline as to when one could be ready for widespread use, hospital officials implore everyone to take precautions and follow public health orders. Also, noting that face masks can slow the upward trend in coronavirus cases by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer, Adventist Health has joined 100 of the nation’s top health care systems to plead for all Americans to #mask up. The group says wearing a face mask is the nation’s best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now.

“We appreciate our community’s patience and understanding as we adjust our operations on a daily basis to meet current needs,” Fuentes says. “Please do your part to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. People we love in our community are falling sick and dying due to the coronavirus. Let’s all do our part and wear masks to protect each other.”