Northern Inyo Hospital Staff Believe They’re Prepared for COVID-19

Northern Inyo Rural Health Clinic Director, Stacy Brown provided another update on COVID-19 Friday morning.

There are still no reported cases of coronavirus in the Eastern Sierra. Brown says the staff at NIHD have tested one person so far, and the test turned out to be negative.

NIHD’s Rural Health Director also said steps are being taken to allow for easier testing, which will occur as soon as next week. “Commercial testing will be widely available. We will be testing and identifying more people once these kits arrive. From there, we will be instructing people to undergo self quarantine for mild cases, while encouraging patients to look out for elderly people who are more susceptible to serious cases of the virus.”

The district has also discussed the possibility of implementing drive through testing, a measure other communities are conducting across the United States.

While testing potential carriers in their cars is a possibility, the more immediate action for screening patients will come via phone calls, where people will be asked to describe their symptoms before they come to Northern Inyo Hospital.

Dr. Brown says at this time, NIHD is fully prepared for when COVID-19 arrives in the Eastern Sierra. “We have been planning ahead, and currently we are way ahead of power curve as far as preparation is concerned. We are definitely not watching this situation flat-footed.”

The hospital has been monitoring its supplies, and report that they are not short on medical equipment. One item the hospital is focusing on is an increased amount of ventilators in stock. “One thing we are really focusing on right now is ventilators and making sure we have enough available to support the folks that need treatment.” Brown remarked.

When asked whether or not individuals should work from home to avoid coronavirus, the Rural Health Clinic Director believes it depends on a person’s exposure to members of the public. “Working from home depends on your level of exposure. If you are exposed to foreign respiratory droplets of the public, it would be better to work from home.”