To my family of friends and patients,
Here is some information from Hoag Hospital that may be of interest to you. (For those outside of Orange County, I’m sure similar things may be happening in your own communities.). Included below is the latest COVID vaccine distribution update and the current COVID testing protocols and quarantine recommendations. Think of how these facts might apply to your own home and workplace situations. Also included is a warning on an emerging multi-drug resistant yeast infection that can live on hard surfaces for months! Yet another reason to practice safety protocols including frequent hand washing (as if we needed another reason!)
After just 14 days after receiving the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine:
- 77% of Hoag medical staff have gotten first shot of Pfizer vaccine, as of December 30 (only 4% have declined for now).
- More than 3000 Tier 1 high and moderate risk Hoag employees and medical personnel have also gotten their first dose
- No frontline, high-risk physician was left exposed, which was the result running more than 30 vaccine clinics in eight (8) days. The clinics were organized, sanitized, socially distanced, and extremely efficient.
Covid Exposures and Testing protocols
What if I have symptoms or a close contact exposure?
Hoag is recommending to medical staff and employees not come to the hospital unless your symptoms are severe and may require clinical intervention.
What if I test positive for COVID-19?
1. All employees, medical and allied health staff members who are COVID-19 positive are expected to adhere to the following CDC guidance.
- a. Excluded from work (office and hospital) for 10 days starting from symptom onset, and
- b. For those with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised, the recommended duration for work exclusion was extended to 20 days after symptom onset
- c. And then, at least 24 hours fever free (no medication), and
- d. Improvement in symptoms.
2. Return to work
- a. Wear a facemask at all times while in the hospital until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer, and
- b. Be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients until 14 days after illness onset, and
- c. Adhere to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette, and
- d. Self-monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation if respiratory symptoms recur or worsen.
Highly Contagious Superbug Candida Auris Update
Candida auris is an emerging yeast that is multidrug resistant and has a propensity to spread in healthcare settings. Candida auris is highly contagious, easily transmissible and can live on hard surfaces for months. Recently, facilities in LA County have identified patients with Candida auris.
Patients who transfer from one of the below facilities (or have been hospitalized outside the US within the last year) must be isolated and screened for C. auris.
- Kindred (Westminster, Los Angeles, Paramount, Baldwin Park, South Bay, San Gabriel Valley)
- Lakeview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center- 5-SCCT South only
Hoag and John Wayne Airport
Hoag will be partnering with John Wayne Airport to create an on-site airport clinic (inside Terminal 8 across from Gate 10) that by the end of January will be offering rapid COVID testing services to provide easy access to testing for both travelers and airport employees.
Hoag needs our support!
We can be proud that Hoag is the highest ranked hospital in Orange County, according to a US News and World Report survey. We want to keep it that way! Help support Hoag’s independence and assure that local Hoag doctors and administration can continue to offer the best care for our community by going to https://ProtectHoag.org to register your support.
As Richard Haskell, MD (Chief of Staff of Hoag from 2015-2018) puts it: “We want to “call our own shots” without having to ask for permission from a corporate entity based in Seattle with 50 other hospitals throughout the Western United States. Hoag wants to be “nimble and quick” when it comes to making the best medical care decisions for our patients. This is hard to do when you have to get “permission” from 50 other hospitals who are only looking out for what is best for their hospital or the “system,” but not our hospital, our community, or our patients. “
As a Medical Staff member for 34 years who has worked at dozens of hospitals around the country, I can assure you that Hoag provides the very highest level of patient care and moreover, always seems to be improving. As one of my friends who was recently treated for COVID at Hoag for two weeks puts it – “Hoag saved my life. I was constantly amazed at the care that I received at all levels. If not for Hoag, I wouldn’t be alive.”
Again, go to https://ProtectHoag.org to learn more and register your support.
I want to impress to you the continued importance of masking, social distancing and hand washing. While Hoag is a precious community resource, resources are not unlimited. Hoag is being overwhelmed by the surge of COVID cases as are most other Orange County hospitals. We need to help Hoag help us by doing what we can to decrease the spread of this very contagious virus.
I’ll keep you informed of further significant updates. In the meantime, please stay safe.