COVID-19 in California
I am the CEO of a 415-bed independent, community hospital in Fremont, California, USA. The virus, COVID-19, pays no attention to borders, race, nationality or gender. It is an unseen enemy. We have been fighting this battle 24/7.
Since March 17, our area has been sheltering in place. We stopped all our elective surgeries and non-urgent visits. There are no visitors allowed into the hospital. Any person entering our buildings must be screened, temperature taken and required to wear a mask along with social distancing. We identified specific COVID units focusing on critical care. Staff and physician safety have been our priority. Trying to find enough appropriate N95 masks, gowns, face-shields, etc. has been a frustrating process. All our supply chains basically broke, and we had to turn to non-conventional organisations to help us such as 3D printing companies.
The good news is that officials believe that the shelter-in-place order has helped to decrease the severity of the spread, better known as “flattening the curve.” We continue to care for COVID patients daily and celebrate when they go home. We are now in a more stable situation and hope to start a “recovery” phase and figure out what the “new norm” will be. People in our community need care that has been delayed. We know that cancer and heart attacks are still occurring. Financially we have been hit hard just like other hospitals. We cannot completely exhale since COVID-19 can strike in waves. I have truly learned that not all superheroes wear capes, some wear scrubs and uniforms.
Kimberly Hartz Foster (1992, MSc Management), Chief Executive Officer, Washington Hospital Healthcare System
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Published: 5 May 2020