Staff and doctors at Palo Verde Hospital (PVH) continue to face COVID-19 challenges.
According to PVH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sandra Anaya, the hospital received doses (first and second) of the Moderna COVID vaccine on Jan. 7 – “just enough for our workers” – and began administering to staff on Jan. 8.
However, an administrative alert published by PVH on Jan. 8 noted the facility had physicians – two, as confirmed by Anaya – and clinical staff members who have contracted COVID.
On Jan. 11, PVH confirmed one of those two resident physicians – Dr. Adolfo Macaraig Paglinawan – to have passed away.
“Blythe Clinic, (the) PVH Clinic, Dr. Brooks and Dr. Rodriguez are still seeing patients,” stated PVH. “Please seek non-emergent care through those settings so we can conserve our resources for those truly sick patients who need emergency resources.”
Along with ongoing concerns over transfer rate times for patients, PVH leadership remains frustrated over perceived local messaging and/or indifference to COVID public safety practices by some in the community.
“We do not have specialists here, we try and transfer – that is taking much longer – like days, and, we will do the best we can. Now, I have several workers out – and that is what occurring all over the nation,” noted Anaya. “That is why social distancing is important and that is why wearing masks is important, none of which has truly been supported in this community by officials.”
As of Jan. 12, Riverside University Health System – Public Health’s (RUHS-PH) COVID data reports the cumulative case count for the city of Blythe to be 1,000, with 749 recovered, and seven deaths.
The cumulative case count for zip code residence 92225 – as of Jan. 12 – is reported at 1,211, with 904 recovered.
Both figures exclude case count numbers of the two area California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) prisons.
PVH’s Jan. 8 administrative alert also outlined the facility’s patient care strategies during a pandemic, which noted three capacity levels – conventional, contingent and crisis.
Currently, PVH is flipping between the contingency and crisis capacity levels, defined as:
“The spaces, staff and supplies used are not consistent with daily practice but provide care to standard that is functionally equivalent to usual patient care practices. These spaces or practices may be used temporarily during a major event or incident or on a more sustained basis during a pandemic or epidemic.”
“Adaptive spaces, staff and supplies are not consistent with usual standards of care but provide sufficiency of care in the setting of a catastrophic event. Crisis capacity activation constitutes a major adjustment to standards of care.”
Below are additional updates and notes provided by Anaya on various topics related to COVID’s according impact on PVH:
Limited staffing, resource requisition realities
“Our staffing was limited before COVID because few want to work in Blythe – there is nothing here. We have many staff members who work outside the area as far as Chino, West Covina, Escondido, Riverside, Indio, Yuma, Goodyear, Havasu – some, whom are now leaving to go to other facilities closer to home. That is one issue. We have put in resource requisitions through the (California Department of Public Health) and Riverside (County) to try and get additional staff, supplies and equipment to deal with special needs. However, many, many hospitals are doing the same.”
“Trying to get an NP (Nurse Practitioner) that can help out with seeing patients both in ED (Emergency Department) and clinic. We are trying to go through the Medical Health Operation Area Coordinator in Riverside for a doc(tor), radiology staff and nurses. There is no guarantee.”
“We still have not received the equipment ordered in June (2020) because priority allocations go to the larger facilities.”
Vaccines’ distribution plan
“The vaccine will be distributed in tiers. We received just enough for our workers today of the Moderna vaccine for the first and second dose. We have not been provided any information on how they plan to get the vaccine out to community members – the SNF (Senior Nursing Facility) will be getting their vaccines through a special CVS program.”
Telemedicine outlook, supplemental clinical care
“Also, we are working on a contract with a company, that was referred by the California Hospital Association, and a telemedicine contract to have the availability of clinical advisory and critical care consult with specialty physicians, as needed. In this model, the tele-intensivist physicians are formally consulted as a specialist, to join the clinical care team at PVH. We are doing everything we can.”
“We are in daily contact with the Medical Health Operation Care Coordinator in Riverside County who has been a tremendous support.”
“Also, Dr. (Raul) Ruiz, our (California 36th District) Congressman, and Peter Carlstrom from his office, have continued during the past 9 months, been consistent in reaching out to this facility and making efforts to assist us. With everything going on with the elections, with congress, and other activities associated with the current government crisis, they have not failed us. We are grateful.”