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Following COVID-19 guidelines announced by state and local health officials, Alvarado Hospital, a member of Prime Healthcare, is scheduling elective surgeries and procedures.

Michael Brislin, Director of Perioperative Services, said a careful and structured move toward restarting clinical care operations and procedures was followed in order to address the needs of the community and expand access to medical and surgical care. The hospital is following guidelines and a roadmap that were established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, and the American Hospital Association.

“The hospital continues to carefully monitor the virus’s ongoing impact to the community and will maintain its ability to properly respond to the coronavirus as we serve patients with the essential care they need,” said Brislin. “We want to assure our patients and community that we are implementing best practices and will do everything we can to keep them safe.”

A committee of physicians and other clinical leaders at Alvarado Hospital was formed to ensure safe resumption of essential health care services, including non-emergent surgeries and procedures. Patients are screened and tested for COVID-19 no later than 92 hours prior to any surgery. Steps are taken to minimize any risks and make certain that COVID-19 patients are isolated from non-COVID-19 patients. New policies have been developed and will be re-evaluated and reassessed as needed.

Currently, no visitors are allowed into the perioperative area, unless the patient is a minor, 18 years old or younger. In this case, one visitor would be allowed to accompany the minor-aged patient through the pre-operative process to the Same Day Surgery area, and then would be taken to the hospital front lobby to wait. Any visitor to the hospital would be screened before entering and must wear a cloth face cover or surgical mask while inside.

Robin Gomez, CEO of Alvarado Hospital, said patient safety remains the highest priority at all Prime hospitals and that supplies of personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, and gloves are more than adequate to treat both COVID-19 patients and those undergoing important elective procedures and surgeries.

“Resuming these important services is essential to our mission of providing quality, community healthcare,” said Gomez. “As a health system, Prime remains committed to conserving critical supplies, being vigilant in our fight against COVID-19 and its evolving impact, and ensuring that our facilities are safe places for all patients, providers, and staff.”

In addition, stay-at-home orders issued by public health agencies make exceptions for those in need of other emergency medical treatments, and the hospital’s Emergency Department remains open for all those seeking emergency care. Following physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 does not mean ignoring the signs or symptoms of other medical emergencies.

“Those experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke, for instance, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, or sudden muscle weakness, should still call 911 or visit the emergency room immediately,” said Lori Turgeon, Director of Emergency Services. “We are well prepared to handle non-COVID emergencies as well as able to deal with an influx of potential COVID-19 cases, and are following all state, local, and federal guidelines to safeguard our staff and other patients from exposure.”