Frequently Asked Questions
Members of the community have expressed concerns about the surge in COVID-19 patients over the last few days. Mountains Community Hospital (MCH), like other hospitals in the region and nationally, is experiencing a sharp rise in the number of people coming to our emergency department who are testing positive for COVID-19.
Rest assured that MCH is working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA), and emergency medical services (EMS) providers to provide care to our community’s COVID-19 patients. We are in contact with other area hospitals in a mutual effort to serve all COVID and non-COVID patients needing care.
MCH will care for all of our patients safely and effectively with COVID-19 protocols in place throughout MCH to inhibit the spread of the pandemic. Our physicians and leadership are constantly monitoring the situation, allowing us to maintain the appropriate level of care for our patients. MCH’s goal is to quickly treat medical conditions safely and allow patients to go home in the safest, shortest possible time.
MCH has developed Crisis Care Guidelines, a framework for health care professionals to plan for a surge of unimaginable proportions, guided by the state, based on best practices throughout the country and ethical principles. The framework aims to ensure that if there is a shortfall of what’s needed, health care systems respond in a coordinated, thoughtful manner to make decisions that protect the health of the community as best we can with the resources available. Every hospital in California has access to these guidelines and will operationalize them if needed in a way that will meet the needs of their patients to the best of their ability. MCH has adopted the following guidelines in our approach to the potential increase in patient surge. MCH is currently operating under the “Contingency Guidelines.”
Remember to pay attention to your health and that of others around you:
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, or other flu-like symptoms, call your doctor. It is important not to wait too long as early testing and treatment may help you avoid a trip to the ER and possible admission to the hospital.
Follow the recommendations of the CDC and our local and state health officials. Stay at home as much as possible and only leave your home for essentials needs. Wear your mask and maintain social distancing at the grocery store, pharmacy, and medical appointments. Avoid gatherings with people outside your immediate household.
If you have neighbors who are elderly or have a chronic condition, consider offering to pick up their groceries or medications when you are making a trip to the pharmacy or grocery store.
HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus strain that is believed to spread in similar ways as the common cold, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. A health care provider can give you instructions for seeking care, which you can do without exposing others.
Medical staff at Mountains Community Hospital are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and have strong infection control policies, procedures, and systems in place. As recommended by the CDC, our clinicians are screening all patients for fever, respiratory symptoms, and other COVID-19 related symptoms. Anyone meeting the CDC-established criteria would be isolated and further testing and care will be provided with the resources available.
How to protect yourself
You can protect yourself from COVID-19 infection the same way you protect against the common cold or seasonal flu.
Sanitize your hands often for at least 20 seconds each time. Alcohol gel works well in most situations (like after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose), but handwashing with soap and water should be performed after going to the bathroom, before eating, or when your hands are visibly soiled.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. (Putting a tissue on a table contaminates the surface of the table with germs.)
Stay home when you are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Routinely disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, using a cleaning spray or wipe.
Avoid non-essential travel.
If you feel sick, here’s what you should do:
Use home quarantine or home isolation.
Stay home if you believe you have been exposed to the virus, even if you are not showing any symptoms, and contact your health care provider.
Whether you have seasonal flu, the common cold, or something else, it’s important you stay away from others when sick.
Monitor yourself for fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
CARE DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
We appreciate your trust in Mountains Community Hospital in providing your medical care. As you know, we are facing a sustained public health emergency that has reduced available medical and personnel resources available to hospitals and patients. During times such as these, it may be necessary to implement Crisis Standards of care. Mountains Community Hospital has adopted the California Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines.
California is one of a number of states with such guidance. Anchored in best practices from across the country, and guided by ethical principles and a commitment to equity, it provides a framework to help health care facilities and county health departments plan for the potential of a COVID-19 surge that is overwhelming. It aims to ensure that, should conditions push our systems into providing crisis care, we do so in a coordinated and thoughtful manner, using a common framework, procedures, and decision making that best protects the health of all Californians.
Click here to learn more about the California Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines (PDF).
The CDC has the most current information about the virus, including everything you need to know about how the virus spreads, how it’s treated, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you get sick. Stay on top of the latest news by visiting the following websites, which are being updated frequently.
COVID-19 Testing Offered 5 Days a Week in the Afternoon at the Rural Health Clinic in Lake Arrowhead
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you have come into contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19, please call the Rural Health Clinic at (909) 336-9715. We can evaluate your symptoms and get you tested!
We accept Medi-Cal, Medicare, IEHP, Family PACT, and Blue Shield PPO. Uninsured or can’t make the trip to your physician down the hill? A visit is only $55. Subsequent diagnostic testing will be charged to your insurance.
What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (2019-nCoV aka COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that typically cause a mild illness like the common cold. From time to time new coronaviruses emerge and have the potential to cause severe disease and global epidemics. Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is caused by a new respiratory virus, which is also sometimes referred to as SARS-CoV-2. This virus is different than SARS and MERS that caused previous outbreaks of respiratory illness. This virus was first identified as the cause of an outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and has subsequently spread to more than 30 countries on several continents. Early cases were believed to be animal-to-human spread linked to a large seafood and animal market, but it is now known that person-to-person spread is occurring. This new Coronavirus has resulted in more than 80,000 cases throughout mainland China, and another 55,000 cases (to date) worldwide.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of those confirmed to have COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. While most cases are relatively mild, some patients have had a severe respiratory illness. Severe respiratory disease is more common in the elderly and patients with other medical concerns. It is believed that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Based on the most recent data, we are encouraged by the fact that 80% of the individuals with COVID-19 will show no signs or very mild signs of the illness. Most people who get the virus will not need to visit their doctor, a clinic, or an ER.
How does it spread?
Coronaviruses generally spread through respiratory droplets via: Coughing or sneezing within 6 feet of a person, close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, and touching a surface with the virus, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before cleaning your hands. There is also potential for airborne spread if an infected person undergoes an aerosol-generating procedure, such as endotracheal intubation, receipt of nebulized medicines, or undergoing nasal swabs.
How can I keep myself safe?
The easiest and most effective way to keep from getting sick is to WASH YOUR HANDS. Here are a few guidelines that will also help:
When soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick
Stay away from public places such as work, school and daycare when sick
Cover your cough and sneeze
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as phones, tables and doorknobs
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
At this time, testing is only being done within strict guidelines and with permission from the California Department of Public Health. In accordance with current County and State Public Health Guidelines, before COVID-19 is even considered, a group of tests must be done to rule out other illnesses. Patients that are presenting to MCH will be tested for Flu A/B, other respiratory illnesses, and strep throat. When those tests prove negative, and a patient meets ALL of the criteria listed below, our local health department is notified to determine if they feel a COVID-19 test is warranted.
A patient must meet all of the below criteria to be considered for a COVID-19 test:
Has fever of greater than 100.4
Has cough or other respiratory symptoms
Has recently travelled, within 14 days, to an affected region OR been in close contact with someone that recently returned from an affected area or has been diagnosed with COVID-19
If these criteria are met, and it is determined by local and state health authorities that a test is warranted, the sample used for the Flu A/B test will be sent to a testing facility and the patient will be contacted by the local health department.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
LOCAL, STATE, NATIONAL AND WORLDWIDE INFORMATION:
San Bernardino County COVID-19 Dashboard
San Bernardino County Department of Public Health
San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health
California Department of Public Health: COVID-19 Updates
John Hopkins University & Medicine, Coronavirus Resource Center
Track global cases and trends. Updated daily.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
World Health Organization
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic