1. Does the fact that Curry County’s population skews elderly mean we have access to any special equipment or resources?
It does not.
2. How many COVID-19 test kits are available in Curry County? While Curry Health Network monitors its number of collection supplies on a daily basis, we do not know how many are available in Curry County. As of March 24, 2020, we had 80 in stock and continue to conserve by following the newly released OHA COVID-19 Testing Guidelines (available here:
3. Are there any tests on order? Please clarify. If you mean, are there any collection supplies on order, then the answer is yes, but we understand they are back-ordered. We have been successful in receiving up to 10 at a time from the testing laboratory. This again underscores the need to follow the OHA testing guidelines to conserve for most appropriate use. If you mean, are there specimens sent out to the testing laboratory for which we have not received results, the answer is yes.
4. How many people have been tested for COVID-19 in Curry County? Curry Health Network does not have access to County-wide information.
5. How many people have asked to be tested? We do not have that information available but are able to provide the number of calls to our 24/7 COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line. Between March 19 and March 24, 118 calls have been received.
6. How many people are showing up with symptoms? In Brookings? In Gold Beach? Although we don’t have the exact number of patients, we recommend that you research Flu Bites, Influenza Surveillance Data available from the state at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/DiseasesConditions/CommunicableDisease/DiseaseSurveillanceData/Influenza/Pages/surveil.aspx. You may find some helpful data related to influenza-like illnesses.
8. Do you have a respirator or respirators available? Curry Health Network has 5 ventilators and 3 BIPAPS. Our clinicians have been researching if the specific models of ventilators are able to be adapted for use by more than one patient at a time.
9. Is there a plan in place to add beds? If so, where? Do you have plans for different facilities or separate areas for quarantine? Anything in place yet? Any policies and procedures in place for quarantined patients? Curry Health Network has identified an initial surge plan that will allow us to increase bed capacity to approximately 40 patients. This plan allows separating COVID-19 patients from all other patients. Although our bed capacity can be increased, the number of patients we will be able to care for will greatly depend on the number of healthy health care workers available. Curry Health Network follows all policies and procedures of evidence-based medicine for Infection Prevention protocol.
10. What about masks and protective gear for health care workers? Do you need any? Have you ordered any? Any idea when or if that gear will be delivered? We monitor our vital equipment, supplies, and medications on a daily basis. Curry Health Network currently has an adequate inventory of face masks because we have adopted extended use guidelines to attempt to extend our supply. However, with the potential for an anticipated increase in the need for these supplies and a lack of reliability in our supply chain as a result of global shortages, that may change. We have requested PPE from the state, however, it has not been communicated that any would-be received because their supply is limited and are serving those areas currently most affected by current COVID-19 patient levels.
11. We’ve heard that retired or part-time health care workers are being asked to serve. Do you need any additional health care workers? At this time, all employed CHN Providers are committed to serving in any capacity necessary, so we currently do not have a need for additional health care workers. However, we have heard from some community members with health care experience that they have an interest in volunteering if needed. As part of the Hospital Incident Command system in response to the crisis, we will be providing a venue for those interested to affirm their interest, skills, credentials, and availability to add to our Labor Pool, if needed.
12. We understand there is a blood and blood product shortage in the country. Is there a need for blood in Curry County? Is a blood drive planned? Please check with the Red Cross.
13. Is there a plan in place to help those with mental health issues? All patients at Curry Health Network receive medical care appropriate to their condition. Curry County Public Health provides mental health services in the county. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the US Department of Health & Human Services) has established a Disaster Distress Helpline for people experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster whereby they provide toll-free crisis counseling and support. 1-800-985-5990.
14. There are already news reports about an increase in domestic violence. Any plans in place to help victims? Any time a patient presents to CHN and has been potentially involved in domestic violence, we have the privilege to care for their medical needs. In these situations, all health care workers are required to report actual or suspected domestic violence to DHS.
15. How about children? Are there protocols or special plans in place to deal with sick kids? Child care providers and new kids? As a Critical Access Hospital, CHN provides medical care for all ages, however, critical accesses hospitals do not have pediatric wards, a pediatric ICU, or the staff to specifically care for pediatric patients only.
16. Is Curry General communicating with Sutter Coast about sharing resources? Do you know if OHP and network insurances will waive restrictions on out of area care? Curry Health Network has not been in contact with Sutter Coast, but is active in working and collaborating with local and regional agencies and authorities, and other hospitals in the State. Patients should check with their providers of health insurance about out-of-network charges.
17. Anything else we should know about or that Curry General would like the public to know? New visitation and screening guidelines, as offered by the Oregon Health Authority upon an Executive Order by the Governor, will go into effect on March 27. I’ve copied the relevant info below. There were also new COVID-19 testing guidelines released by the OHA on March 23 which CHN is following. They can be found here: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/COVID-19-Health-System-Testing-Guidance.pdf.
Beginning March 26, hours of operation for the outpatient Lab Draw Stations at both Curry General Hospital and Curry Medical Center will change to 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. After hours, a Lab Assistant will need to be called to the department, with potential delay if serving the needs of patients in the emergency department or acute care.
SCREENING & VISITATION
Entry into facilities will be limited to essential individuals and require the screening of those essential individuals prior to entry. Essential individuals include:
- Facility staff and prospective staff seeking employment.
- Facility healthcare volunteers.
- Outside medical personnel.
- Emergency responders including EMS, Fire and Police.
- Vendors, but only when access to facility is required.
- Licensing/Survey staff.
- Legal guardians.
- Friends or family members who must accompany a patient to a procedure, when no facility staff are available to provide that service.
- Friends or family members visiting during end-of-life stages.
- A spouse, spousal equivalent or other support person to accompany an individual giving birth.
Policies and Procedures regarding screening shall:
- Limit points of entry to the facility;
- Require at each point of entry screening that includes visual observation and questions regarding:
- Symptoms including fever, coughing and shortness of breath;
- Diagnosis or testing related to COVID-19;
- Contact with individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19; and
- Recent travel history.
- Refuse entry to any individual who is determined during the required screening to be a suspected, presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 patient;
- Permit no more than two essential individuals to be with a patient at any one time except for current facility staff, health care volunteers, outside medical personnel, and emergency responders including EMS, Fire and Police.
- Provide education to essential individuals regarding:
- Hand Hygiene: Before entering a patient room, essential individuals shall wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or clean hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer,
- Avoidance of face touching; and
- Use of good respiratory etiquette: Covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow, and proper use and disposal of tissue;
- Require documentation of entry into the facility and screening of essential individuals; and
- Require appropriate signage regarding visitation and screening and provide information to staff, patients and essential individuals of the policies and procedures in place.