The Monterey County Health Department and all four area hospitals – Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, Montage Health, Natividad and Mee Memorial – began to discuss and coordinate proactive measures to address the potential emergence and community spread of COVID-19.
SVMHS activated its Hospital Incident Command System, which ensures operations in any disaster or emergency situation are effective and efficient.
SVMHS reduced elective surgeries and non-urgent outpatient services to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Triage tents were approved for use by the California Department of Public Health.
At SVMH, patients screened at Emergency Department triage tents who needed additional evaluation were escorted to an alternate care site.
SVMH set up alternative care sites (isolation tents) outside the emergency room, where nose and throat swabs were conducted and sent to the Monterey County Health Department for testing.
SVMH received its first two COVID-19 patients.
Announced new visitor and patient policies. Everyone entering the hospital was screened. Patient visitation was limited to one person (age 16+) per day with some exceptions.
Activated a free bilingual hotline for community members to call and get answers to their COVID-19 questions and limited drive-up screenings for patients referred by their physician or the hotline. Screenings were reserved for those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms who had recently traveled to a restricted country or had a known exposure.
Set up a COVID-19 focused website to update the public on the latest COVID-19 information and resources.
Adopted a no-visitor policy to help protect patients, staff and guests from the spread of COVID-19. Limited exceptions included visitors to labor and delivery, the pediatric unit, and patients in end-of-life care.
To keep everyone informed, SVMHS launched a weekly COVID-19 community
e-newsletter and daily COVID-19 e-newsletter for employees.
Due to the hospital’s no-visitor policy, SVMH invested in iPads to connect patients with their families via video chat.
Launched an innovative program redeploying staff to support the community during the crisis.
Implemented a new universal masking policy for staff, patients and (permitted) visitors.
Remdesivir was first used at SVMH to help treat the sickest COVID-19 patients. SVMH doctors noted that patients seemed to get better if the medication was administered early in their stay.
Convalescent plasma was first used at SVMH. Collected from patients who recovered, treatment worked best when administered early in a patient’s infection. Staff reported that recovered patients were eager to donate plasma.
Salinas Valley Medical Clinic implemented telemedicine visits across 115 providers. From June through December, 674 new patients scheduled telemedicine visits, while more than 5,000 established patients did the same.
The CEOs and Chief Medical Officers from SVMHS, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Natividad Medical Center and Mee Memorial Healthcare System collaboratively announced the “Mask Up Monterey County” campaign.
SVMHS received its first Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and began vaccinating healthcare staff.