PRESS RELEASE: RIDGECREST REGIONAL HOSPITAL COVID-19 ADVISORY & RESPONSE (3.31.20)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020, RIDGECREST, Calif. – Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH) is continuing to prepare for a potential surge of patients with the coronavirus or COVID-19 as experienced nationwide.

The hospital has confirmed plans for several layers of physician coverage for both the emergency department and the hospital inpatients. RRH clinics continue to provide services, but are now limiting in-person clinic visits and adopting telehealth visits, in an effort to virtually care for patients and reduce foot-traffic in these areas. Providers will still be seeing any patient with acute symptoms in-person.

“It is impossible to know if a surge will impact our community like other cities,” said Jim Suver, RRH President/CEO. “As of today, at this time, we have two positive COVID-19 cases and are waiting on the results of many more tests to be completed. We must remember that RRH can only report on lab results carried out by our hospital and any reported numbers will not include the results of other local independent providers, meaning positive tests in the community might actually be higher. The lack of testing supplies and long wait times for results continues to hamper healthcare systems nationwide. We look forward in anticipation to the arrival of some of the newer tests, which will hopefully ease this problem.”

RRH has increased bed capacity if needed, including 4 ICU beds which can be expanded to 8, then expanded to 16 if needed. The hospital has 14 ventilators (5 of which can be used on pediatrics). At a time of critical patient volume, if it occurs, RRH will consolidate its clinics and physicians to the ED and other locations as deemed appropriate.

Suver continued, “Certain supplies continue to be a problem for RRH as they are nationally. We are thankful to local business such as Harbor Freight and Walmart who have already come to our rescue in providing critical and much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontline healthcare providers.”

RRH will continue to keep the community informed of significant developments as information is made available. If our community becomes significantly impacted by cases or sees a surge, the hospital will work to make that information available to the public. RRH is regularly sharing the numbers released by region from Kern County Public Health and encourages the community to visit the county website for the latest and most up to date numbers (https://kernpublichealth.com/2019-novel-coronavirus/).

RRH thanks the community for their diligence in sheltering in place and maintaining social distancing.

Protective measures as recommended by Kern County Public Health:

  • Stay at home except for essential needs.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Follow package instructions for proper disinfecting.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick.
  • Those 65 and older or other high risk groups should self-isolate.

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