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Coronavirus FAQ

FAQs Specific to RRH Patients & Visitors

Can I still attend appointments and visit patients at the hospital?

If you have an appointment or are planning on visiting RRH, please ask yourself the following questions:

Are you experiencing the following symptoms...

  • Fever or chills?
  • Cough?
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
  • Fatigue?
  • Muscle or body aches?
  • Headache?
  • New loss of taste or smell?
  • Sore throat?
  • Congestion or runny nose?
  • Nausea or vomiting?
  • Diarrhea?

And/Or have you…

  • Traveled to affected areas outside the U.S?
  • Been tested for COVID-19?

And/Or…

  • Been in close contact with someone who has traveled within the last 14 days?
  • Been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

If yes, patients...

  • Please wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Notify the front desk
  • Please make sure you healthcare provider is aware of this information prior to appointment and at time of entering building

If yes, visitors...

RRH is limiting visitors for the safety of our patients and staff.

Download the RRH Visitors Policy here (English)/(Spanish).


Is there a visiting policy currently in place?

Yes. To protect our patients, staff and community during the coronavirus pandemic, routine visiting is currently suspended at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital until further notice.

Download the RRH Visitors Policy here (English)/(Spanish).

Should I keep my medical appointment at a Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH) or RRH off-campus location?

Patients face no additional risk at our hospital and all locations. Please keep your existing appointment unless you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have traveled internationally within the last 14 days. In this case, please contact your RRH provider before going into the hospital/clinic.

If I’m healthy, is it safe for me to visit loved ones at a Ridgecrest Regional Hospital?

We currently have screening protocols in place for all hospital visitors; however, if you have any flu-like symptoms or may have been exposed to the 2019 novel coronavirus, you should not visit the hospital in order to prevent contagion.

Can I still collect my medical records from RRH?

All Ridgecrest Regional Hospital employees and physicians returning from international travel are screened to make sure they have not been exposed to the disease.

All RRH employees are currently have a temperature check at the start of their shift.

Can I still collect my medical records from RRH?

At this time to ensure the safety of our patients and staff due to COVID-19, we are restricting in-person access to request and retrieval of medical records. Please use the online options available to request records via email, mail, fax, phone, via your provider or by viewing through the patient portal. You may request that your records be sent directly to your provider via fax or the provider can call and request the records directly via phone, fax or email. If you have questions or would like additional information, please call us at 760 499-3668 and our staff will be happy to assist you.

Is COVID-19 testing available at RRH?

Yes. To continue to keep our community healthy and safe, we are testing those patients that meet the CDC criteria for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Please take the following steps for further assistance:

  • Please refer to the CDC Coronavirus Symptoms Self-Checker by clicking HERE
  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms, please walk-in to the RRH Urgent Care Clinic for evaluation. Our Urgent Care is open and accepting walk-ins 7 days a week (7 AM – 6 PM Mon-Fri & 8 AM – 5 PM Sat, Sun & Holidays). No appointment necessary.
  • Testing at this time is still currently based on meeting CDC requirements. Please refer to the CDC Coronavirus Symptoms Self-Checker by clicking HERE. Due to the increased demand for testing across the California, testing turnaround times may take as much as 7 days. If results are available sooner, we will notify you when they arrive.
  • For questions regarding COVID-19 testing & results, please call or text our dedicated COVID-19 Information Center on: (833) 216-6663. Please leave your name, number and a brief description of why you are calling and a representative will return your call in the order received.

What is the testing criteria for COVID-19 at RRH?

Following updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health RRH had been following CDC guidelines to determine the need for testing. Now, through a Kern County and RRH funded service, testing is available free of charge and with no screening criteria.

Under the latest CDC guidelines, the hospital currently uses its own choice of outside labs, resulting in faster test result turnaround times.

Further information on the CDC testing & symptoms, as well as a Symptom Self-Checker tool can be found on the CDC website here.

How many people has RRH tested for COVID-19?

RRH updates information on total positives from RRH tests, pending RRH tests, total number of tests and residency every Monday at www.rrh.org/covid19.

Full information on numbers for Kern County can be found at the Kern County Public Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard here.

Kern County Public Health Department is also now releasing regional data by zip code, here.

Does RRH have enough COVID-19 test kits?

Yes, RRH is confident that we have enough testing supplies to meet the current demand for testing in our community.

Who IS currently being tested for COVID-19?

The California Department of Public Health released updated testing guidance that focuses on testing hospitalized individuals with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and people being tested as part of the investigation and management of outbreaks, including contact tracing. The testing guidance also prioritizes individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms and individuals without symptoms who fall into high-risk categories, including people who live and work in nursing homes, homeless shelters and prisons, healthcare workers, and patients in hospitals. The new guidance will ensure that Californians who most need tests get them even if there are limited supplies.

Who IS NOT currently being tested for COVID-19?

Decisions about testing are made by state and local health departments or healthcare providers.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are not tested, it is important to stay home. What to do if you are sick.
  • At this time, there is no treatment specifically approved for people who have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have questions about your health.

Online Symptom Self-Checker tools can help to determine if you need to be tested:
CDC Symptom Self Checker
Screen Covid Symptom Checker

For more information on symptoms and testing, visit the CDC website here.

How bad do symptoms need to be to come in for testing?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever (100.4° or higher) or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. For the latest updates visit the CDC website here.

For more additional updates and advice surrounding the Coronavirus, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 informational page.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

For more information on symptoms and testing, visit the CDC website here.

What is the current turnaround time for expected results of the Covid-19 Testing?

The current turnaround time for results is approximately within 3-4 days of the test being performed. This can vary based on the lab's capacity depending on the number of tests submitted.

Are we any closer to a more expedient test result?

RRH has the capability of expedited testing for our most vulnerable patients.

Does the RRH or the Ridgecrest community have any areas designated as quarantine facilities available to patients/residents awaiting COVID-19 test results?

No. Outpatients are given instructions on what do based off CDC guidelines on how to self-isolate and care for themselves at home. For Inpatients, RRH would also follow CDC guidelines on caring for a COVID-19 patient.

Is the hospital prepared to isolate/ quarantine those who are seriously ill or require ICU care?

The hospital has surge plans in place for ICU and non-ICU patients.

Will I be notified if I have had contact with a positive case?

Kern County Public Health Services Department is responsible for investigating cases and using "contact tracing" to determine potential exposure sources and any contacts the patient may have had.

What is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and people who they came in contact with (contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 to isolate and their contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.

Read more on the CDC website here.

Coronavirus FAQs

Includes information and data sourced from:
https://kernpublichealth.com/2019-novel-coronavirus/
https://www.cdc.gov/

What is a coronavirus? What is a novel coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus that causes illness of varying severities, ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory disease. A novel (new) coronavirus is a new strain that not been previously identified before in humans. The illness caused by the novel coronavirus identified in China in December 2019 is called coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 for short.

What can I do to protect myself from the novel coronavirus?

CDC always recommends every day preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory disease, such as novel coronavirus and flu, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the issue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hand often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

What is 'Community Spread'?

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your health department’s website.​

How Does the virus spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Should I cancel my travel plans?

Domestic Travel

CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Traveling to visit friends and family increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Getting infected may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. People at higher risk for complications need to take extra precautions.

Although it can be hard to remain apart from loved ones during challenging or stressful times, try to connect with them in other ways, using video chats or phone calls.

  • All potential travelers should stay up to date regarding travel notifications. Travelers should be aware that travel notifications, guidances, and restrictions may change at any time, including while you are traveling.
  • CDC Travel Webpage
  • S. State Department Travel Webpage

International Travel

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health care systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time.

CDC also recommends all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.

Should I wear a facemask?

Yes. CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

For more information on cloth face coverings visit the CDC website here.

More information about cloth face coverings can be found on the CDC's cloth face coverings site.

Should children wear face coverings?

CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are out in the community. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation. Children younger than 2 years of age are listed as an exception as well as anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

Should I wear a gloves?

For the general public, CDC recommends wearing gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick.

In most other situations, like running errands, wearing gloves is not necessary. Instead, practice everyday preventive actions like keeping social distance (at least 6 feet) from others, washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol), and wearing a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public.

Is it safe to open packages or letters from China or other areas affected by COVID-19?

There is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging. However, it may be possible that people can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Learn more about safe handling of deliveries and mail.

Is it true that herbs, bleach, or oils can treat novel coronavirus?

There is no evidence that herbs, garlic, oils, or bleach treat a COVID-19 infection. A cleaning solution with bleach is useful in killing germs, including the novel coronavirus, on surfaces; however, ingesting or applying bleach to your body can be harmful and even fatal. Currently, there are no established, effective antiviral medications for treating COVID-19. Persons who are infected with the novel coronavirus should receive supportive care to relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment may include hospitalization to support vital organ functions.

Am I protected from the novel coronavirus if I got my annual flu shot?

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is different from the influenza viruses that cause flu. The flu shot will not protect you from becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, but it can reduce your risk of being infected or severely ill from influenza. Influenza viruses are circulating in Kern County is currently a greater cause of illness and mortality.

What do I do if I am sick or caring for someone who is sick?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

How can I prepare for an outbreak in my area?

Create a household plan of action to help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community:

  • Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan, and discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community.
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
    • Make sure they have access to 2 weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time.
  • Get to know your neighbors and find out if your neighborhood has a website or social media page to stay connected.
  • Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, healthcare services, support, and resources.
  • Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.

Does gargling with salt water every days and drinking room temperature water help kill the virus?

There is no official recommendation that regularly gargling has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. While this may help soothe a sore throat, this practice will not prevent the virus from entering your lungs—neither will drinking frequent sips of water.

What if I have more questions?

Visit the CDC’s Website Frequently Asked Questions and the CDPH website for more information. You can also call the Kern County Public Health Services Department at (661) 321-3000 or email PublicHealth@KernCounty.com

Information and Advice Toolkit