The Rising Incidence Of COVID-19 Reminds Us To Remain DiligentJuly 17, 2020
We are seeing the number of positive cases throughout California spike in some regions, causing officials to mandate new protocols and emphasize social distancing and mask-wearing. We encourage everyone in our community to adhere to the guidelines and stay safe. We all need to continue to practice the basic guidelines in order to slow down the virus: wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, wash hands often, and if sick – stay at home, avoid gatherings, and get tested.
For the most current information, you can visit the County’s COVID-19 website: socoemergency.org. If you have questions about social services, please call 211.
The hospital continues to maintain readiness to respond in the event we see a significant increase of COVID-19 cases locally. Working closely with the County’s Public Health Officer, Department of Public Health, UCSF, and other health experts and officials, we are staying abreast of the latest news, treatment developments and safety needs for staff, patients and our community.
COVID In Our Community
As a hospital, we provide care for all persons who present themselves for emergency care. Depending on the severity of the situation, patients may be admitted or transferred to another facility to obtain the best treatment their condition requires. We have cared for patients who are COVID-19 positive and will continue to do so throughout the course of this pandemic. Every safety precaution is followed, limiting the risk to staff and patients. For reasons of patient privacy, we do not release information that is protected by HIPAA, including reporting how many current patients may have COVID-19.
If you would like information on the rate of positive cases locally, you can visit Sonoma County’s Emergency Services website which contains the most current data broken down by various demographics including region. Sonoma Valley is designated as “East County.” As of July 12, nine percent of total reported positive cases in the county were from our region. The website is www.socoemergency.org
Testing By The Numbers:
Through July 9, 2020
COVID Testing And Viral Load
A current discussion within our community is the accuracy of COVID testing itself. We are being asked this more frequently and see it as a topic of many virtual conversations on social media platforms. In addressing this concern, our Chief Medical Officer, Sabrina Kidd, MD, has this to say about hospital-managed COVID testing:
“SVH COVID-19 testing at SVH is currently run through either the Department of Public Health or UCSF. The specimens collected are nasal pharyngeal specimens which are more accurate than specimens collected from the mouth. There is known variance in test results for several reasons. The main reason is the amount of virus (viral load) a person has at a given time. If this is low (early in the illness or after 7-10 days of symptoms) tests may come back as false negatives. This happens with all PCR* based tests. Rapid Point-Of-Care tests (POC) are less accurate than PCR tests and Sonoma Valley Hospital is not using any POC** tests at this time.” Still, doubt may exist and Dr. Kidd says, “if patients have increasing symptoms and a high suspicion for COVID-19 despite a negative test, they are encouraged to discuss additional testing with their healthcare provider.”
“Testing is both a nationwide concern and problem, and locally we face these same concerns and challenges: not enough tests, longer than expected delays to obtain results, lack of equipment, reliability of results, and public testing availability. Because COVID-19 is a communicable disease, testing is essential and remains critical. We are looking into the means of procuring our own testing equipment for both PCR and antibody testing.”
Community COVID Update by Chief Medical Officer
To keep our community informed on recent COVID-19 developments, Sonoma Valley Hospital plans to host a community COVID update through Zoom on Thursday, July 30, 2:30 – 3:30 pm. The webinar will be led by Sabrina Kidd, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the hospital. She will provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in California and locally, availability of testing, and answer questions raised by community members ahead of time. To attend the online presentation, please enroll online here (vintagehouse.org/events). For more information and to submit your questions in advance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707.935.5257. We thank Vintage House for their partnership and assisting with registration and technical support.
Information Is Available On Our Website
We encourage you to take care of yourself and your family members by following government guidelines, including wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. Information on recommended practices is available on our website. As we navigate through this situation together, we will provide regular updates at our website and through our email and social media communications.
*PCR = Laboratory technique known as “polymerase chain reaction” and analysis is conducted in the lab.
**POC = Point of care testing (no laboratory), results received at the same time.