RRH begins reopening clinics

RRH begins reopening clinicsRidgecrest Regional Hospital CEO Jim Suver announced Monday that the facility will begin a phased reopening of clinics and outpatient services, in anticipation of relaxed restrictions relating to attempts to reduced COVID-19 outbreaks.

“We plan to do this very slowly, performing time-sensitive and urgent elective cases, as well as seeing more patients face-to-face in our clinics,” said Suver.

“We will be constantly checking our test result numbers and our PPE supplies and will remain ever diligent in our response to ensure we are keeping safe and requiring our patients to be safe as well by following our procedures.”

He said that the plans to reopen have taken into consideration Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement to move the state into Stage 2 (see related article), which will allow more businesses to open up starting today.

Those plans are also in line with efforts of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, working in conjunction with the county Department of Public Health, to begin transitioning into a more open commercial sector.

“I think we can expect to see an increase in positives test results once the state starts to re-open, even in our area,” said Suver.

He also said that healthcare providers expect the risks relating to coronavirus to persist through the fall.

“It is therefore important that the state and local areas continue to monitor the situation, and make needed changes, as RRH will be doing,” he said. “An important factor in our response remains the ability to test.

“We are nearing a time when COVID-19 tests will be processed onsite at our RRH lab instead of an outside lab, as well as the much anticipated arrival of antibody testing, expected at the end of May.”

(See related article on county support for expanded testing, this edition).

Suver thanked the community for its continued support, “and for allowing us to continue to care for them during these difficult times. We are proceeding cautiously.”

RRH providers will determine whether individual patients currently scheduled for appointments will be required to attend in-person or via telemedicine. In order to gradually resume in-clinic visits, the hospital will follow these guidelines:

• Strict screening for symptoms (as per new CDC guidance)

• Patient will be pre-registered the day prior to their appointment

• Patient screened at entry to facilities (including temperature checks)

• Our staff will be wearing masks, and we ask for all patients to do the same.

• All COVID related care and testing will be conducted through our drive thru and tent outside.

• Schedule(s) for providers with in-person visits will be staggered, so as to avoid any back-log in lobby/waiting areas.

“All plans for reopening and resuming in-person visits are dependent upon the situation at that time. RRH is monitoring the situation closely and all plans are subject to change, as the COVID-19 situation evolves,” said Suver.

Pictured: The Ridgecrest Regional Hospital campus, pictured above, begins is measured approach to reopening clinical services. — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2020-05-08