COVID-19 cases on the rise statewide

COVID-19 cases on the rise statewideAs COVID-19 cases rise across California, the state has further revised guidance issued August 11, for visitors to health care facilities — including Ridgecrest Regional Hospital.

Effective Wednesday, Aug. 11, RRH updated its visitor policy to reflect the orders of the California Public Health Department (see https://bit.ly/3yx1mau), issued on August 5. This policy is only being enforced to the hospital setting and does not apply to patients and/or patients with visitor going to a clinic or outpatient appointment.

“We have seen a sharp increase over the past month in positive cases resulting from RRH COVID-19 tests, and are currently sitting at a positivity rate of 8.8 %,” said RRH Administrator of Quality, Brenda Diel, MS, RN. “While we understand how important it is for our patients to enjoy visits with family and friends, RRH must follow orders set by our state and public health, which are made in the best interests of protecting our most vulnerable and immunocompromised patients in the hospital. Our priority is to protect those in our care.”

In order to comply with the state mandate, RRH must determine that all visitors meet one of two requirements before being granted access to RRH facilities:

Proof of being fully vaccinated – fully vaccinated means a person is two weeks from having received their last shot – two weeks from second shot with Pfizer and Moderna or two weeks from single dose Johnson & Johnson shot. RRH will be responsible for confirming this information at time of entry and will be verified by the following:

a. COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (either CDC or WHO yellow card)

b. A photo of a Vaccination Record Card

c. Documentation of COVID-19 vaccination from a health care provider

d. Digital record that includes a QR code that can be scanned

For the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, proof of a negative COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR) that is within the last 72 hours.

No visitor will be allowed to enter who has fever or cold-like symptoms (Fever or chill, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or fever of 100.4 or higher).

All hospital visitors will be required to wear surgical masks. Cloth masks are not accepted. Surgical masks will be provided for those who do not have them. Visiting hours for the hospital are 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. The Outpatient Pavilion and Emergency Department hours will remain the same. One visitor at a time will be allowed for most hospital departments.

The following will be allowed two support persons regardless of vaccination status and clearance of screening process:

Pediatric Patients

Labor and Delivery Patients

Patients with Physical, Intellectual, and/or Developmental Disabilities and Patients Cognitive Impairments

If a support person is not fully vaccinated they will be required to wear an N95 mask at all times. RRH will provide the N95 mask. Per California Department Public Health following the emergent situation that brought the patient to the hospital and as soon as reasonably possible, these visitors (support Persons) must comply with the vaccine verification or applicable testing requirements within 72 hours.

RRH is also working to ensure the safest, most inclusive, guidelines possible for those visiting patients in critical or end-of-life conditions.

RRH will continue to keep our visitors, patients, staff and community updated.

Story First Published: 2021-08-13