Today (March 25) marks the fourth week since we began treating our first COVID-19 patient. The patient is now 83 years old (she celebrated her birthday in the hospital) and will walk out of Eisenhower a healthy person.
Being the first hospital in our County to have a COVID-19 patient has had the effect of putting us in the lead for response. We were first, which caused our entire organization to shift into overdrive. We have done the following:
- Developed a triage system by instituting and promoting a hotline (760-837-8988) staffed with nurses to determine patient conditions, has become the model to emulate in the County. To date, our nurses have fielded 12,440 phone calls, leading to testing of almost 400 patients with the results as follows:
391 – Tested (total number of unique patients tested, does not include those re-tested)
14 – Positive (4 in the hospital)
158 – Negative
225 – Pending results
- Implemented our prepared leadership plan for an infectious disease outbreak. For instance, one team is focused only on the probable “surge” of patients while another is focused on creating the COVID-19 inpatient unit.
- Elective surgeries have been postponed while the hospital organizes around COVID-19 isolation cases. A section of the second floor of the Washington building is now set up for negative pressure isolation rooms in expectation of patients.
- We currently have 17 ICU isolation beds. This is being increased to close to 50, as we transform patient rooms into critical care beds.
- We are transitioning non-essential physician offices and clinics into telemedicine hubs – where patients in clinics such as at Eisenhower Desert Orthopedic Center and Eisenhower Desert Cardiology Center are instructed to call into their physicians for consultations. In addition, we are transitioning essential employees to work from home in ways never been done before.
- The surge team, last Wednesday, asked if our loyal donors could help underwrite 50 additional ventilators at $48,000 per unit. Within hours, the first 5 calls resulted in 5 affirmations…at which point we approved an order for 50 ventilators days before the United States started demanding ventilators (because of your support, we were told to expect delivery in the coming weeks – not months!). As of today, 46 of you have purchased ventilators!
- Our push for excellence is taking on new meaning as our teams pull together and innovate. We are taking delivery of PCR lab equipment, ordered before the outbreak, which will allow us to perform our own COVID-19 tests internally – and reduce the turnaround time from days to hours.
- Our doctor offices, clinics and nurses are contacting patients and asking about their level of medical need to ensure we continue to care for those with a variety of health concerns.
- We are looking into contracting with a daycare “school” on our campus for employees with children who are currently out of school.
Finally, we are fortunate – you all have been compliant, cocooning at home. If we have a surge, we will see it in the coming few weeks. In the meantime, now is the time to remain vigilant and stay away from the public. (Michael just cancelled his birthday plans with family. Besides, no one wants to be with any of us who work at the hospital!)
Please call us if you have any concerns. We will get through this, together.
- Aubrey Serfling Michael Landes
President/CEO President, Foundation