In times of crisis, people need trustworthy leaders able to acquire important knowledge and resources, take actions that promote public safety and well-being, communicate clearly and honestly, and initiate outreach focused on the community’s greatest needs.
A Collectively Communicated “Mask Up” Message
Wearing a mask is a simple, but highly effective, action that everyone can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. To promote progress in Monterey County’s pandemic fight, leaders from four area hospitals – SVMH, Community Hospital of the MontereyPeninsula, Natividad and Mee Memorial Healthcare System – joined forces for the “Mask Up Monterey County” campaign.
Through this campaign, local healthcare professionals promoted four simple actions – wearing a mask, washing hands, staying 6 feet apart and avoiding large gatherings. They thanked the community for doing their part to keep themselves, their families and Monterey County as safe and healthy as possible. “We need the public’s help to fight this nasty, sneaky virus. Without that kind of help, we’ll see more hospitalizations unnecessarily and, unfortunately, more deaths,” says Pete Delgado, President/CEO at SVMHS. “Working with the other hospitals on this shared message is an important step. We need to make sure people stay vigilant.”
Reducing Risk in the Agricultural Community
As it became evident that COVID-19 was traveling through the agricultural worker community with a higher intensity than the general population, SVMHS saw a need for immediate action. As the summer harvest approached in the Salinas region, Pete Delgado, President/CEO at SVMHS, brought agricultural leaders together for summits designed to educate them about the virus and how it spreads so they could pass that information along to their workers. Two summits were held in June, and a follow-up summit took place in November.
SVMHS also worked directly with agricultural businesses, sending bilingual registered nurses to provide education to workers on-site and in the field. These nurses shared critical information about proper handwashing, social distancing, the use of masks, and other ways to reduce the spread of the virus.
Leading Through Crisis
Throughout our response to COVID-19, Chief Medical Officer Allen Radner, MD, and Carla Spencer, RN, Director of Emergency Services, actively led our entire operations team in the midst of a fast-moving and unpredictable public health crisis. One of their first steps was establishing daily update meetings with key leaders at the hospital. Constantly monitoring a rapidly evolving situation, Dr. Radner and Spencer made operational adjustments, monitored our clinical resources, helped provide guidance and support to staff, and communicated the latest information about patient volumes, PPE status, testing trends, safety and visitation policy changes, and more.
Through regular media interviews and employee presentations, Dr. Radner also explained the evolution of patient care based on the latest clinical advancements. He also enlisted community cooperation in social distancing, masking and other preventive behaviors to reduce surges of the virus, and offered details on vaccine safety and distribution as they became available. Spencer shared her insights throughout the year, explaining the virus and its transmission, offering updates on testing, and providing timely advice about protective steps, symptom recognition and self-quarantine.
Overall, their strong clinical leadership kept SVMHS prepared and the community informed.