With coronavirus positive cases going down in the county recently, Sharp Coronado has seen a reduction of hospitalizations. Sharp Coronado CEO Susan Stone said regular hospital services are nearly at pre-COVID 19 levels. The outpatient situation has returned to normal status but the hospital is not open to visitations.

“We want to ensure the community is aware they can come and have care,” she said. Stone also added that it’s important not to delay care as in the past, when patients were afraid to be treated, because the hospital is a safe environment.

Stone reminded the public that the gym is open by reservations and personal trainers have also become creative and use the lawn area as well as offers zoom classes.

The hospital offers RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, which detects the RNA of the virus that causes the Coronavirus disease, for patients that have symptoms. The PCR test is very sensitive and as long as there is COVID RNA in a person, the test will detect it. The hospital does not offer antigen or antibody testing. Stone said of the PCR testing, “It’s the most accurate way to get tested…It’s not extraordinarily expensive but it’s the safest and most reliable way [to get tested]. Some antigen and antibody testing have very high negative rate. We wouldn’t want to have that…we want to ensure safety for everybody at our facility,” she said.

As of last Friday Sharp Coronado had two COVID-19 patients of which one was in ICU. To date the hospital has performed 10,913 tests and out of that total 216 were positive. “Typically July and August are the busiest tourist season but we’ve seen more people from outside of Coronado with tourism continuing beyond the school year,” said Stone. “We serve anybody that presents themselves to the emergency room, we provide care to anybody and …we serve the local population.”

Patients who have symptoms can be tested for the virus at the hospital. Those who do not have symptoms and want to get tested have to go though their primary physicians. “We’ve provided test kits to offices in town. They send us the specimens and we process them [in our lab]. We don’t have the ability to test asymptomatic people,” said Stone.

Stone explained that after people are tested they are instructed to stay at home, and wear a mask until the results come in. Once a positive result is received, the Public Health Office and the Health Department are notified and take over informing the patient of the isolation requirements and protocol and follow up with a phone interview.

With flu season on the horizon Stone recommends that everyone get a flu vaccine. Those 65 and over and those that have health conditions are recommended to receive a high dose flu vaccine.

“We don’t want people to get the flu and COVID…it’s hard for the bodies,” she said.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, watch for these signs and symptoms: fever (take your temperature twice a day); cough; congestion or runny nose; sore throat; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; chills; repeated shaking with chills; muscle pain; headache; new loss of taste or smell; fatigue; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea.

Sharp Coronado will hold free flu immunizations on Oct. 5 and 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Sandermann Auditorium, entrance on Soledad Place. The high dose flu vaccine will not be available at those events. For a free COVID-19 self-assessment log on sharp.com.

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