Coronavirus Update

Updated April 3, 2020 at 3 p.m. PST.

HOT TOPICS
Where can I get the latest data on the spread of the coronavirus?
The County of San Diego Public Health Department updates coronavirus statistics every day around 4 pm. You can follow daily reported cases, cases by zip code, cases by city and number of cases requiring hospitalization. The state of California publishes statewide data and the Centers for Disease Control publishes national data.

How many days does it take to get coronavirus results back?
If you are admitted to the hospital (become an inpatient) your results will be returned in less than 24 hours. If you are tested (swabbed) and sent home to self-quarantine, your results may take 7 days or longer. You will be contacted immediately by a Palomar Health employee when your results are completed.
 
Why did Palomar Health ask for mask donations? 
Palomar Health is asking for mask donations to bolster supply in case planned shipments don’t arrive and/or an unanticipated need arises. We have planned for a surge in patients but this is an unprecedented time and we value the community’s support to keep staff and patients safe. For more information about deliveries and mask making, please visit our Foundation website.
 
How is Palomar Health screening patients for the virus?
All patients are screened at the entrance to the Emergency Department and their temperature is taken. Those who meet the criteria for possible coronavirus testing are immediately masked and sent to the triage tent erected near the Emergency Department to isolate them from other patients. Inside the tent, patients are evaluated and those suspected of carrying the virus are tested and sent home with medical instructions or tested and admitted to the hospital for treatment, depending on patient condition. 
 
Does Palomar Health have enough ventilators?
We are preparing for a surge in patients who need ventilators and are continuing to increase our supply. We have a proof of concept that will allow multiple patients to share one ventilator, further increasing our capacity.
 
What should I do if I believe I am infected with COVID-19?
Call your primary care physician. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call 2-1-1 or visit 211sandiego and they will connect you with a provider. Stay home until instructed to leave by your healthcare provider. Do not visit the Emergency Department unless you are having an emergency situation. Read our steps to follow for more information.  
 
VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

Are visitors allowed at the hospital? 
No visitors are allowed inside Palomar Medical Center Escondido, Palomar Medical Center Poway and Villa Pomerado, per the public health order, until further notice. Exceptions may be granted for those visiting end of life patients and children, on a case by case basis. Anyone entering the hospital will have their temperatures taken (nobody with a temperature above 100 degrees will be allowed to enter) and screened for potential coronavirus exposure.
 
Are birthing partners allowed in the birth center?
Only one birthing partner will be allowed in the birthing room until further notice. The birthing partner must be at least 18 years of age and show no symptoms.

What are the vendor and contractor visitor restrictions?
In accordance with CDC guidelines, all non-essential vendors and contractors are barred from entering all Palomar Health facilities. The exceptions to this policy (essential care vendors and contractors) are those who provide services directly to medically necessary patient care and essential equipment or facility processes. This policy is effective immediately and until further notice. All vendors and contractors must check in at the front desk upon arrival and those meeting the criteria will be given a badge for that day only. Please see the attached letter on our vendor restrictions at this time. 

INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS

How can I protect myself?
Here are the best ways you can protect yourself and others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds
- Keep six feet of distance from anyone not in your immediate household
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Do not touch your face
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Properly cover your cough/sneeze
- Disinfect highly touched areas
 
What should I do if I believe I am infected with COVID-19?
Call your primary care physician. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call 2-1-1 or visit 211sandiego and they will connect you with a provider. Stay home until instructed to leave by your healthcare provider. Do not visit the Emergency Department unless you are having an emergency situation. Read our steps to follow for more information.  
 
What should I do if I am told to isolate at home?
The County of San Diego has issued a specific set of directions for anyone who is being evaluated or has confirmed positive for the coronavirus. These instructions also cover anyone who has contact with the coronavirus carrier.
 
How will the coronavirus affect pregnancy and breastfeeding?
The CDC has issued guidelines for pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is a lot we don’t know so pregnant and breastfeeding women should do what the general population is doing to protect themselves from getting the coronavirus.

TESTING PROCEDURES

How much is a COVID-19 test?
We treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay. As is the case with any treatment, we collect insurance information. Your insurance company is best to answer any payment related question.

How is Palomar Health screening patients for the virus?
All patients are screened at the entrance to the Emergency Department and their temperature is taken. Those who meet the criteria for possible coronavirus testing are immediately masked and sent to the triage tent erected near the Emergency Department to isolate them from other patients. Inside the tent, patients are evaluated and those suspected of carrying the virus are tested and sent home with medical instructions or tested and admitted to the hospital for treatment, depending on patient condition.  

What is the process for testing?
First you are screened to meet CDC testing requirements. Then a practitioner swabs your nose and/or mouth to collect a specimen. If you need hospital care you will be checked in and treated as necessary, otherwise you will be sent home and asked to self-quarantine. 

What should I do once I have been swabbed for the coronavirus?
If you have been tested for COVID-19 at a Palomar Health hospital and sent home you will be contacted by a Palomar Health employee immediately when your results are in. If you are home waiting for results, stay home and away from other people as much as possible.

How many days does it take to get coronavirus results back?
If you are admitted to the hospital (become an inpatient) your results will be returned in less than 24 hours. If you are tested (swabbed) and sent home to self-quarantine, your results may take 7 days or longer. You will be contacted immediately by a Palomar Health employee when your results are completed.
 
Is Palomar Health operating drive through coronavirus testing?
No. The tent outside the Emergency Department is not a drive-through testing site. It is being used to pre-screen potentially contagious patients. Unless you have an emergency situation, please contact your doctor first before coming to the Emergency Department.
 
PALOMAR HEALTH ACTIONS

Will Palomar Health make the old downtown hospital available for patients?
Palomar Health is making all its resources, including the downtown hospital and shelled space in the Citracado Parkway hospital, available as potential locations for expanded patient treatment. The community should know Palomar Health cannot act alone, but is working with local, state and federal officials and other hospital systems to come up with a regional solution to serve our entire county.
 
Does Palomar Health have enough ventilators?
We are preparing for a surge in patients who need ventilators and are continuing to increase our supply. We have a proof of concept that will allow multiple patients to share one ventilator, further increasing our capacity.
 
What is Palomar Health doing as far as preparedness?
Palomar Health has been preparing for the coronavirus for several months. Our infection control team has instituted a series of measures to isolate infected patients and prevent cross-contamination. We are following all federal, state and local recommendations to restrict visitors, disinfect surfaces, cancel elective surgeries, mask patients showing symptoms before entering the hospital and increase the number of rooms with special filtration systems.

Will Palomar Health be cancelling elective surgeries?
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, Palomar Health cancelled all elective surgeries and will reschedule them for a later date. Emergency surgeries will continue.
 
Is Palomar Health cancelling events?
Yes, per the CDC recommendation to limit gatherings, all Palomar Health-sponsored community activities and events have been cancelled in March and April and will be made available online, if possible. This includes education classes, tours, symposiums, awareness events, ALL support groups (including breastfeeding support groups), etc.
 
DONATIONS

Why did Palomar Health ask for mask donations? 
Palomar Health is asking for mask donations to bolster supply in case planned shipments don’t arrive and/or an unanticipated need arises. We have planned for a surge in patients but this is an unprecedented time and we value the community’s support to keep staff and patients safe. For more information about deliveries and mask making, please visit our Foundation website.

What should we do with donations other than masks?
We are receiving many donation offers from generous local companies and residents. We are grateful for their generosity and ask all hospital supply donations be sent to Heather.Woodling@PalomarHealth.org in Supply Chain. Donation offers for anything other than supplies should be directed to Alex.Arana@PalomarHealth.org at the Foundation.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Where can I get good information about community resources such as child care, etc.?
The County of San Diego operates a website and information line that contains local resources, sorted by zip code that has been vetted by professionals. You can call 2-1-1 or visit their website to learn more about these resources.

Do you sell N95 masks? If not where can I purchase them?
No hospital sells N95 masks, but they are available from third party vendors. Please be careful of scams and price gouging as some are taking advantage of the pandemic. Your best defense against contracting the coronavirus is to stay at least six feet away from other people and wash your hands regularly.
 
COVID-19 FACTS

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) is a respiratory disease first identified in Wuhan, China causing an illness not previously seen in humans. The fact that it’s a new virus with little information is why it’s getting so much attention.

How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus mainly spreads between people in close contact with each other and/or from a cough or sneeze. People are most contagious when they are feeling sick. However, it might be possible for the virus to spread before symptoms occur. Although unlikely, the virus could spread by touching an infected surface and then touching your face.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- fever
- cough
- shortness of breath

Where can I find the best information?
Centers for Disease Control
San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency
 

Flu Vaccinations

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (www.cdc.gov) recommends a new flu vaccine to protect against the upcoming strains of influenza. The 2019 - 2020 flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. It will not prevent illness caused by other viruses. It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after the shot, and protection lasts six-months to one year. Palomar Health, working under national guidelines provided by the CDC, is prepared to vaccinate as many individuals as possible, age 9 and older, through its community flu shot clinics. Palomar Health nurses will provide the influenza vaccine by injection to persons 9 years of age and older.

 

 
There are no more community flu shots this season.