This past Tuesday my office hosted a Tele-Town Hall to discuss health issues related to the COVID-19 crisis. Participants from the Hospital Association, County Behavioral Health, County Public Health, and Local Medical and Health Operational Coordination answered questions submitted by constituents. In this update you will find answers to frequently asked questions and resources that are available to you now. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions or need assistance. We can be reached by phone at (909) 476-5023 in our District Office or at (916) 319-2040 for the Capitol office.
San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health - http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dbh/covid-19-resource-for-community-contract-providers-and-staff/
Living under an emergency declaration or crisis can create feelings of chaos, loss of control, and fear of uncertainty. Do you have any recommendations on how people can cope with these feelings?
- Keep Calm– Anxiety increases heart rate and respirations, clouds judgement and takes us out of the present moment. Ground yourself. What is happening at this moment? Remind yourself often by saying something like, “I am doing everything I can to support my health.
- Relaxing can mean:
- Taking deep breathes, stretching, meditating or praying, or engaging in other activities you enjoy.
- Talk about your experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends,
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking; consider keeping a journal where you write down things are grateful for or that are going well.
Social distancing is isolating. How can I continue to connect with my family, friends, and community while maintaining appropriate social distancing?
- Connect with Others
- Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. You can:
- Use the telephone, email, text messaging, and social media to connect with friends, family, and others.
- Talk “face to face” with friends and loved ones using Skype or FaceTime.
- If approved by health authorities and your health care providers, arrange for your friends and loved ones to bring you newspapers, movies, and books.
- Sign up for emergency alerts via text or email to ensure you get updates as soon as they are available.
Are there professionals available for someone to reach out to if they are struggling emotionally/mentally?Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 (English and español)
- Website (English): http://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov
- Website (español): http://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/espanol.aspx
Hospital Association of Southern California- Inland Region - https://www.calhospital.org/coronavirus
How are hospitals responding to the surge in patients (COVID-19 related or not)?
- Working hospitals on local modeling and forecasting response to anticipated surges.
- Expanding hospital capacity and increasing staffing are direct responses to the increased surge in patients seen during this time.
- California is expanding its hospital capacity by re-opening old hospitals, erecting field hospitals, in addition to the use of the USS Mercy hospital ship.
- Through the program, Health Corp., thousands of retired or peripherally trained health care workers are coming back on line to help California treat against COVID-19. To learn more about how you may be able to help go to https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps/.
What safety measures are hospitals implementing for their frontline workers?Hospitals are taking a variety of measures to ensure their frontline workers are protected and able to continue treating COVID-19 patients. These may include:
- Universal masking protocols
- Conserving protective equipment
- Following CDC guidance on updated requirements
- What are hospitals doing to ensure they have the right amount of supplies and equipment?
- Hospitals are working with their Medical and Health Operational Area [MHOAC] Programs for any resources (PPE, equipment and supplies, personnel, pharmaceuticals, acute care transfer, beds, transportation, and more). The MHOAC can then seek to fulfill the request through the Strategic National Stockpile. For information on how to request itmes through the MHOAC program go to https://www.calhospital.org/pod/resource-requests.
Emergency Medical Services-Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency-Local Medical and Health Operational Coordination- http://www.sbcounty.gov/icema/main/default.aspx
Is the San Bernardino County area experiencing supply shortages like other areas and how has ICEMA work to address that challenge?
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) are in short supply both locally and across the country. ICEMA is working with County Purchasing for County departments and the State of California though a well-established resource request system. This provides access to both State and Federal resources. To date, we have received approximately 50 pallets of PPE.
- How is the COVID-19 crisis different from other disasters we have experienced?
- This is the most widespread and rapidly evolving event that the United States has seen as a whole. This is affecting the entire country and putting an unprecedented strain on all levels of society, especially the healthcare system.
How is ICEMA working with fire departments, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies to ensure they have the necessary resources they need in the field?
- ICEMA is in unified command with all of the fire departments and ambulance providers in the county to manage the prehospital component of the system. They are also coordinating the hospitals to assure maximum utilization of their resources. They are securing PPEs for law enforcement in partnership with the San Bernardino County Sherriff who is distributing the ICEMA acquired PPEs to all law enforcement agencies in the county.
What improvements have been made to increase efficiencies in the distribution process to ensure the supplies are getting into the hands of people that need them most?
- ICEMA is working with the Unified Command Incident Management Team to leverage their resources to speed the receipt, breakdown, sorting for distribution to the requesters, and then distributing the items in the most rapid delivery possible
San Bernardino County Public Health - http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus/
Is there a designated hospital or facility in San Bernardino that is specifically for COVID-19 testing and treatment?
- Not one facility or hospital in San Bernardino is designated to treat just COVID-19. All hospitals are handing cases. If a need for a facility to handle only COVID-19 patients is needed the county will make that assessment as the crisis continues.
How long can the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 survive on surfaces?
- COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, on plastic for 2-3 days, and on stainless steel for 2-3 days. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has the following guidelines available to you https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html
Non-essential businesses are open or not practicing social distancing; will law enforcement be asked to step in?
- Law enforcement will step in if non-essential businesses are not following the guidelines. To make a complaint you can call (909) 387-3911 for San Bernardino County.
Is there an estimated timeframe for the quarantine? Is April still suggested?
- The Federal government just put out new guidelines through April 30th. This is being monitored closely and evolving every day so April is not set in stone.
James C. Ramos
Assemblymember, 40th District