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Teamwork and Preparation Most Important in NIHD’s Response to COVID-19

It is an overused analogy, the war against novel coronavirus, but as any employee at Northern Inyo Healthcare District will tell you, the battle is real. Ironically, it is a battle most have prepared for throughout their respective careers.

“Every team member brings something to the fight,” says Dr. Stacey Brown, Medical Director of NIHD’s Rural Health Clinic and current Vice Chief of Staff. “Every department plays a role.”

For NIHD Board President Jean Turner, the show of teamwork fits right into the District’s operational design. “When I came onto the Board, I was told our basic structure is that of an inverted pyramid,”
Turner says. “Leadership at the bottom, the workforce at the top. The top is where the real work goes on; it’s where things really matter. If I wanted our community to remember one thing at this point in time, it’s this: Our staff is disciplined, well-trained, and ready for this challenge.”

The District’s fight against coronavirus began in mid-January. For weeks, Infection Preventionist Robin Christensen, RN BSN HIC, kept an eye on what was transpiring in China. On January 28, she called the first team meeting to talk about coronavirus and its potential impact on NIHD and the community. Everyone in the room knew the odds, had watched the numbers coming in from China.

“It is safe to say we wished for the best, but as healthcare workers, we always prepare for the worst,” Christensen says. “It’s who we are; it’s what we do; it is what the community expects from us at a time like this.”’

As the NIHD team developed needed plans, they carried on with providing day-to-day care. Hallway conversations and internal emails began to refer to coronavirus more frequently. The District conducted a pandemic disaster drill on February 13. The tipping point came March 6 when a two-hour coronavirus meeting gave way to a day-long review of staffing levels, supplies, policies, plans, and shared concerns.

The group met the next afternoon again for several hours. They got a late start, beginning at noon. It gave those who volunteered to help at the Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance’s Blue Ribbon Walk & Run a chance to meet their commitment. For many at NIHD, it was the last “normal” day of the month.

NIHD initiated an internal Incident Command on March 10 and continues working under it today. Incident Commands use a standardized approach to direct, control, and coordinate emergency response. More importantly, it brings people together to reach a common goal.

Like her co-workers, this was not the first time Allison Partridge, RN MSN, worked under an Incident Command. Partridge, the Director of Nursing for the Emergency and Medical-Surgical departments, knows the system well and aids Chief Nursing Officer Tracy Aspel in keeping the daily meetings on task.

Partridge now spends much of her days working with others to put together workflows for the departments that will be most affected. With guidance from Infection Preventionist Christensen, Partridge
and others closely watch the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Public Health Department for direction. No area or service escaped review.

“We track daily our current availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and the recommendations for use,” Partridge says. “Additionally, we have made modifications in how we provide services and how visitors access the campus. All of these measures are in place to protect our teams and community. We encourage all employees to adhere both while at work and at home to the recommendations issued by national, state, and local government.”

Carefully crafted plans address the care of Patients Under Investigation (PUIs). Partridge says the standardized workflows are based on the patient’s level of care, whether that be critical care at the hospital or self-isolation at home. Care of multiple positive COVID-19 patients within the hospital remains an area of concern for the small 25-bed hospital.

“A great amount of planning and preparation has gone into every action, and it’s still ongoing,” Partridge says. She notes that just this week, the team was searching every square inch of the facility for places to place more beds. No space is overlooked. An unused and unfinished room located in the two-story hospital was turned into a four-bed safe patient care area within hours.

As for staffing, the level is adequate at this time. The District is working closely with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union on staffing plans should the virus take hold of the community.

As non-essential services are scaled back, staff in those areas become available for use in others. Nurses and caregivers were surveyed to see if they would be OK to serve in other departments they were cross-trained to work in. Recently retired nurses may be considered for voluntary return to bolster staffing numbers. The dedicated care given by generations of NIHD nurses is legendary in the community.

They were also asked who would be willing to work with critical coronavirus cases. No one will be asked to step into a situation they are uncomfortable with — and to date, no one has opted out.

As for the physicians, Dr. Brown and Dr. William Timbers, NIHD’s Chief of Staff, are relying on the aid and advice of many of the District’s Medical Chiefs – Dr. Richard Meredick (Orthopedics), Dr. Charlotte Helvie (Pediatrics), Dr. Sierra Bourne (Emergency), and others. The Medical Support Staff office issued emergency credentials for other physicians in the area should their aid be required at bedsides.

The Rural Health Clinic team launched drive-in coronavirus testing well before some larger, urban hospitals did. The move was based on when the RHC offered drive-in flu shots more than a decade ago.
“Hometown health care can work anywhere, even in the big city,” Dr. Brown smiles.

Dr. Brown’s reliance on RHC Directors Paul Connolly and Jannalyn Lawrence, RN, is evident. Both work closely with the District’s outpatient clinics and played critical roles in clearing barriers for drive-in testing. When offered kudos for the work, Lawrence scoffed. “One Team, One Goal,” she says, incurring the closing line of the District’s mission statement.

Later, as Director of Nursing Partridge studies the endless worklists that paper the walls of Incident Command, she agreed with Lawrence. “Teamwork has played a huge role in managing every aspect of this situation,” she says. “This collaboration has taken place across all disciplines and has included a multiagency approach across Inyo and Mono counties. This great work truly exemplifies our mission of ‘One Team, One Goal, Your Health.’”

Meanwhile, as another day ends for the District team, Infection Preventionist Christensen is in her office. It is quiet in the usually bustling hallway; the result of the District’s temporary telework plan. Almost 80 employees are working from home, practicing social distancing.

Laying across Christensen’s desk are signs of a community lending its support to its healthcare workers: Packages of the valued N95 masks recovered from businesses and home garages, plus several handcrafted face masks. The handcrafted masks, with bright patterns of cacti, cats, and paisley, are especially touching
to Christensen.

NIHD is looking into options that could allow the homemade masks to be used as covers for approved personal protective equipment. That would occur if, and only if, NIHD’s supply of approved masks is
depleted. The covers would help keep the N95 masks free of transferred hand oils, possibly extending the life of the N95s.

“One team,” Christensen says, circling her index finger, gesturing from east to west, north to south. “It’s all of us in the community. Together, we will get through this.”

Mule Days Release Statement About COVID-19 Crisis

In 1970, Bishop Mule Days Celebration rose from humble beginnings to bring a world-class mule show to the Eastern Sierra. We have become the premier mule show in North America. Our annual event brings visitors from all walks of life: RV enthusiasts, campers, equine enthusiasts, contestants, celebrities, fans and friends. Mule Days has endured through recessions, high fuel prices, devastating equine diseases and the loss of many dedicated, dear friends and volunteers. Our all-volunteer Board has continued to promote the legacy of our founders: “Anything a horse can do, a mule can do better.” And, we have continued to promote and enhance the local community and tourism-dependent economy. Mule Days has become a vital part of our local economy by bringing packed hotels and campgrounds during a time that had previously been slow, foot-traffic and visitors raising revenues in our local businesses and government. Mule Days is estimated to bring multi-millions of dollars in direct spending to the Bishop area. For a tourist-driven economy, this equates to $7 million in economic value for every $1 million spent. Our humble show is honored and proud to be such a vital part of our local economy.While Mule Days has succeeded, Tri-County Fairgrounds has been struggling. The State has cut much of the funding for county fairs leaving them struggling to remain open. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many fairs closing. Mule Days has long been a partner of Tri-County Fairgrounds providing much needed capital improvements, sponsorships and assisting with repairs. Mule Days is the single largest financial contributor to the Fairgrounds. Mule Days provides labor and facilities for hosting the State High School Rodeo Finals and the Tri-County Fair. Despite our partnership and the fair hosting events generating much needed income and city and county TOT funds, the fairgrounds is struggling. The reality is, Mule Days cannot exist without Tri-County Fairgrounds and Tri-County Fairgrounds cannot exist without Mule Days. The economic and social benefit of Mule Days and Tri-County Fairgrounds cannot be replaced and should not be ignored. Mule Days is primarily a volunteer-run event; but, we do have a few employees who rely on the success of our event for their income and benefits. Mule Days is a private, not-for-profit entity and may not be eligible for the stimulus programs related to this pandemic. While we recognize the economic and social benefits of our event, we are cognizant of the impact such an event can have on the health and welfare of the citizens of our small community. Mule Days has been contacted by many contestants, participants and fans. We have heard your concerns and agree the well-being of our community is paramount. To that end, Mule Days is giving the local, state and federal government time to address this pandemic. We will continue to do our part to produce a quality event while it is our hope, solutions will be forthcoming and we can ultimately move forward.In the meantime, Mule Days continues to monitor the situation. We realize the decision to continue with our 51st event may be taken out of our hands. If such a decision is made, we will do our mule-minded best to save Mule Days and the fairgrounds for the future. We want to assure our competitors, fans, campers, RVers, ticket holders and volunteers we have a policy in place to ensure refunds will be made fairly and appropriately. We have also developed a procedure whereby reservations and payments are fully credited to our event in 2021 – our “pay-it-forward” option.

Mule Days wishes to thank our community, fans, competitors, volunteers and attendees for your patience and understanding while we work through this unprecedented time of uncertainty. Your dedication to our beautiful American mule is our strength.

-Mule Days Board of Directors

Local Businesses Have Teamed Up to Deliver Groceries for Free

Local businesses are joining forces to deliver groceries to Owens Valley residents during the COVID-19 crisis.

Manor Market, Steve’s Auto & Truck Parts, and Pilot Thomas Logistics have decided to establish a grocery delivery system. Manor Market is supplying the food, Steve’s Auto & Truck Parts is delivering the orders, and Pilot Thomas Logistics is providing Steve’s Auto & Truck Parts with the fuel.

Owner of Manor Market, Kyle Oney said a lot of customers were asking for home delivery in an effort to reduce their chances of being exposed to coronavirus. “We were having requests from people because they are scared during this time. They wanted home delivery and curbside services,” Oney said.

Oney expressed that he was not keen on the idea of having his employees deliver groceries. “We were worried about the delivery aspect, because of the liability of the vehicles without having the proper insurance coverage. Steve’s Auto Parts are kind of quiet right now, so they contacted me and offered to use their drivers and vehicles. So far, it is working out really well and it is a great thing for the community.”

Steve’s Auto & Truck Parts Owner, Robert Dowers discussed how he came up with the idea to help people out during this pandemic. “I got the idea because I had some elderly friends called me who are stuck in their house. One day, I offered to drop off some stuff on their door step. Then I got the idea to reach out to Kyle to see if he wanted to have us do delivery. We have delivery vehicles and are taking advantage of our resources. We are doing whatever we can for people in this time of need.”

After hearing about the service Robert Dower’s company is providing for local residents, Jim McDade, Owner of Pilot Thomas Logistics found out about the efforts from his wife, who works at Manor Market. McDade felt inspired to do what he can to help out, so he is donating the fuel to Steve’s Auto & Truck Parts.

“My wife works at Manor Market and told me what Steve’s was doing. I offered to jump on board, because they are doing this out of the goodness of their heart. Bishop is pretty tight knit community and supporting each other is what we do. When an opportunity arises to help out, I thought it was the right thing to do,” McDade remarked.

Oney said they didn’t have a lot of time to put together the plan. “We are kind of learning as we go along, we threw this together really quickly, but we want to make sure we get this right. We enacted an email address for orders and it is called orders@manormarketbishop.com.”

To put the icing on the cake, delivery is completely free.

Coronavirus Arrives in Inyo County

Inyo County has its first confirmed COVID-19 case.

The first Coronavirus patient has been identified as a 42-year old female living in Bishop. According to Northern Inyo Hospital Rural Health Director, Stacey Brown, the patient came down with symptoms including a fever, cough, chills, body aches, headaches, and low-grade fever.

Health officials instructed the female victim to self-quarantine at her house.

When asked about the status of the patient, Dr. Stacey Brown said he was unsure about the health status of the individual. “I don’t know, but I will reach out to her. As far as I know, she is recuperating at home.”

Brown emphasized that just because a person does not have severe symptoms, does not mean there is no cause for concern.  “This is a great example of how COVID can appear pretty mild in a person. She got tested for a flu and that came back negative. Then she tested positive for COVID, and we got results after a four-day turnaround. The spread [of coronavirus] can present itself in many ways.”

So far, NIHD has conducted fifty-five total tests. Out of those tests, twenty-two are negative, while thirty-two are pending.

The Hospital’s Drive-In testing center was where the patient tested positive for the virus. “The drive-in testing clinic that the district put together was successful in finding our first case in a safe manner,” Brown expressed.

Dr. Brown said the staff responsible for testing the female took all proper measures to minimize the risk of contracting novel coronavirus. “I am really proud of what we have done as far as collecting specimens in a safe manner,” said the Rural Health Clinic Director.

The district will be switching from a surveillance strategy into a containment plan. With containment as the top priority, Brown expressed that the way the hospital goes about testing for coronavirus will be different.

“The testing we do for COVID is going to be focused more on healthcare members so we can get staff back into duty quickly. Testing will also be for acute patients, correctional facilities, and long-term care centers like the Bishop Care Center. We are testing right now, but not for the general public.” Dr. Brown stated.

Director Brown encouraged the public to practice the same strategies health officials have emphasized since the start of this pandemic. Nothing has changed when it comes to combating coronavirus. “Now that we know it is here, it is much more about containing the illness and talking about things like social distancing, hand washing, cleaning surfaces, etc. There is nothing new we have on the horizon from a public health perspective just because it is here.” Brown said.

Caltrans Replacing Signal Detection Cameras in Bishop

INYO COUNTY — On Monday, March 30th, Caltrans will begin work on the District 9 Signal Video Detection Camera upgrade project. The project, which is expected to take a week to complete, will remove and replace cameras at seven signalized intersections located in Bishop.

 

Cameras used in the video detection process are programmed to activate the traffic signal when a vehicle is present. These cameras do not take video or pictures of vehicles for any other purpose.

 

Work will take place from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am each day. Contractors plan on starting at the intersection of SR 168 and Fowler St. The construction schedule for this project is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues.

 

 

This $240,041 project was awarded to Cen-Pac Engineering of Oxnard, CA.

Coronavirus Causes Changes for Inyo Superior Court

Inyo Superior Court operations during COVID-19 pandemic
In furtherance of compliance with the California Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control guidelines and recommendations, the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo, is taking precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of the community. These guidelines suggest that people maintain a six foot separation from others when in confined spaces.

Facility limitations at both courthouse facilities make conforming to these guidelines infeasible in most instances.

Therefore, effective Monday, March 23, the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo has taken the following steps to ensure public health and safety:

 All jury trials have been vacated and no jurors are currently ordered to appear;
 The court is open though the public counter is closed. People are encouraged to file their documents at the drop boxes located outside each court clerk office;
 Phone hours have been extended from 8:30-12:00 and 1:00-4:00. People with questions about non-traffic cases should call 760-872-6193. People calling about traffic related issues should call 760-872-3038 then 3 then 1 then 2;
 The Inyo Self Help office is open for assistance via phone and email only. To speak with the Self Help Center please call 760-872-6240;
 All non-emergency hearings are being continued. The court will notify parties of their new hearing dates;

The Superior Court of California, County of Inyo, recognizes that the current state of emergency is a rapidly evolving one. While these efforts effective today are steps to ensure public health and safety, changes may be made in the future as circumstances and additional information becomes available.

For questions – please contact 760-872-6193 or email info@inyocourt.ca.gov

Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce Encouraging People to Order Take-Out

Let’s Do Lunch to Go

All our local restaurants are abiding by the dictate from the Governor to close and not serve customers inside. Most of the restaurants are doing pickup and some are even doing delivery.  How about we all have lunch or dinner from a local restaurant during this trying time for everyone..

Alabama Hills Cafe – Pick up and Delivery            760- 876-4675
Yummy yummy breakfast as well.  How about French Toast?

Bonanza Mexican Restaurant –  Pick up and Delivery   760-876-4768
Good Mexican lunch makes the day perfect especially if it includes some great Tamales.

Carl’s Junior – Drive up – and if you are ordering for me I like the old fashion burger. With fries, of course

The Lone Star Bistro – Pick up and Delivery           760-876-1111
They also do breakfast and the Sunrise Sandwich is break my heart good.

Lone Pine Pizza Factory – Pick up and Delivery      760-876-4707
My personal favorite is the lasagna with salad bar

McDonald’s Restaurant – Drive up.  Have you tried their app yet. The Southwest Salad goes down so well especially with the crispy chicken.

Merry Go Round – Pick up and possibly delivery      760-876-4115  
If I get to eat out, here is the best Chinese food between Los Angeles and Reno, and the flat iron steak dinner is excellent as well.

Mt Whitney Restaurant – Pick up and Delivery       760-876-5751
Their soup  on Tuesday is Green Chill Verde and is good enough to rub in your hair. They also do daily specials I am particularly fond of BBQ ribs on Tuesday.. Mmmm Mmmm good.

Subway – Pick up                                                     760-876-1860   
And don’t forget they have breakfast sandwiches every day that make fixing breakfast as easy as making a call.

This Facebook Group is Helping Keep Local Businesses Alive During a Pandemic

With the spread of coronavirus happening across the world, businesses everywhere have been forced to either shut their doors or greatly modify their services. One industry which has been affected greatly by the rise of COVID-19 cases, is the restaurant industry.

Dining rooms at restaurants are no longer allowed to stay open which forces customers to choose delivery or take out options only. In order to try to assuage some of the revenue losses businesses face in the Eastern Sierra, Local Real Estate Broker Jake Rasmuson has created a Facebook group called “Bishop Restaurants Offering Take-Out and Delivery.”

The hope is that the Facebook group will encourage people to order takeout in order to keep these businesses afloat.

“Well as a group, we set up so that we can keep the general public abreast of which restaurants are open, who is offering what food, and where for delivery.” Rasmuson said during an interview with KIBS/KBOV News. “It really gives the restaurants a chance to keep moving forward in this time of need.”

So far, the community has responded enthusiastically. This Facebook group was created about a week and a half ago, and it already has over 1,000 people in it.

“You know we are just over a thousand members. The response in our community has been amazing, just the number of people who are offering to help and who are offering to promote other restaurants. I think the biggest part is the local community members who are really trying to support the local restaurants and get up there and patronize the restaurants that are still open,” Rasmuson said.

Though Rasmuson implemented the idea locally, he says he stole the concept from a friend who lives just north of the United States border in Ontario, Canada. He stated, “You know I’ll be honest, another real estate agent friend up in Ontario, Canada, started a group very similar up there. I thought it was a great idea, and frankly, I stole it and got it started for our area. And I would encourage other areas to do the same thing because I really think it provides a great data base for our community to help those local restaurants.”

It’s safe to say none of the local restaurants or his friend care that this plan was not conceptualized by Rasumson.

Local restaurants aren’t the only businesses on board with this group. Jake Rasmuson conveyed that he is working with Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Tawni Thompson, to get retail businesses included.

“Things have been great.” Rasmuson expressed. “Everybody has really been promoting their businesses and their friend’s businesses. I got an email from Tawni Thompson, so we are going to add several of the local retail shops that are still open that are doing take out or delivery as well, so we are really trying to expand that aspect.”

At this time, Rasmuson is not sure how big of a dent the “Bishop Restaurants Offering Take-Out and Delivery” Facebook group is having when it comes to keeping the lights on for these businesses, but he guesses it is definitely helping. “I would guess that just from a takeout standpoint, their orders have increased. I think really the goal is to supplement the income they are going to lose form having to close down their dining rooms. So, if everybody who has the ability can go out and patronize our great local restaurants, I’m sure the owners and then the employees would absolutely benefit there.”

Not only can an individual order delicious food from a local restaurant, they can also enjoy an alcoholic beverage dropped right on his or her front door.

“I do want to add, I know the state ABC laws have changed slightly due to the temporary restrictions, so I know quite a few of the restaurants have the ability to deliver wine, beer, and mixed drinks. So, if someone is at home and wants dinner and a cocktail, I’m sure that can be set up.”

Death Valley Making Changes Due to COVID-19

PRESS RELEASE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK:

Death Valley, CA– Death Valley National Park, in response to Executive Order N-33-20 issued by the Governor of the State of California and the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), is announcing additional modifications to operations to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of March 21, 2020, Death Valley National Park will offer very limited services outside those that support visitor or resource protection. At Death Valley National Park, the following services and operations will be suspended in order to comply with the California order:

  • The park will no longer provide public restrooms at most trailheads and viewpoints.
  • Parking lots at Zabriskie Point, Badwater, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are closed.
  • The following campgrounds are closed: Furnace Creek, Mesquite Springs, Texas Springs, Emigrant, Sunset, Stovepipe Wells, Thorndike, and Mahogany Flat.
  • Visitor centers are closed
  • The Oasis at Death Valley has closed lodging, camping, stores, and restaurants.
  • Stovepipe Wells Resort has closed lodging, camping, and restaurants.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Death Valley National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website (nps.gov/deva) and social media channels.

Outdoor spaces at Death Valley National Park remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state, and local health guidance, in addition to entry fees being waived for visitors.

  • Restrooms are available outside Furnace Creek Visitor Center and at Emigrant, and at the Stovepipe Wells store.
  • Fuel is available at The Oasis at Death Valley (pay-at-pump only), Stovepipe Wells (pay-at-pump only, and only during calm winds), and Panamint Springs.
  • Stovepipe Wells General Store is open.
  • Panamint Springs Resort is open for camping and take-out dining.
  • Regulations for backcountry camping or dispersed road-side camping are online at: www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/backcamp.htm.

The NPS encourages people who choose to visit Death Valley National Park during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.

The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.

For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.

Updates about nationwide NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Death Valley National Park’s current conditions can be found at: www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

 

Drive-In Testing for Coronavirus Available at Rural Health Clinic

To help identify cases of COVID-19, NIHD has established drive-in testing for coronavirus at the District’s Rural Health Clinic (RHC).

Dr. Stacey Brown, Family Physician and Medical Director of the RHC, said, “We are pleased to announce that the new service line allows for prompt screening for coronavirus through a series
of directed questions by telephone and then subsequent testing for infection on campus if indicated. The drive-in testing concept extends the current Same Day service line to the parking
lot adjacent to the clinic.”

The drive-in helps to keep current patients and medical staff safe from a potential infection since suspect cases safely remain in their vehicles instead of in waiting rooms during testing. “Since coronavirus testing has become commercially available, we can safely obtain a patient sample and send it out of town for testing. This greatly helps the local health department and regional
healthcare partners with surveillance and management of infected patients,” he said.

Dr. Brown said the drive-in operates during regular clinic hours, 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday. RHC nurses and providers will staff the drive-in. Dr. Brown said the drive-in is open to District residents who meet current CDC definitions for screening. Those definitions currently include travel history, documented coronavirus exposure, as well as specific symptoms like fever and cough.

“To safely and efficiently handle patients, the drive-in will function like the Same Day service with scheduled appointment times to see a provider rather than an on-demand traffic jam,” Brown said. “Please do not show up at the clinic in your car without calling ahead of time.”

Eligibility to be seen at the drive-in starts with a pre-screening telephone interview with a clinical staff member. A determination of the patient’s risk status follows and then scheduling an appointment slot for the parking lot if indicated. Patients will be greeted outside of the clinic at the appropriate time by the provider and care team in personal protective equipment (PPE), interviewed briefly, and a nose or mouth swab obtained.

Before leaving, the patients will receive information on protecting themselves and others while awaiting their results at home. Information will be shared with the Inyo County Health Department for community surveillance and follow up as needed. “We hope the turnaround time on the test will be prompt, but the send-out lab may take a while for the result,” Dr. Brown said.

“If you think you might have a coronavirus infection, call your primary care provider first. If your provider thinks you need to be tested and cannot test you there, have them contact the RHC at
(760) 873-2849, and we may be able to help,” Dr. Brown said.