April 14, 2020-Dr. Richard Hart, Loma Linda University-COVID 19 Update

 Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting with Dr. Richard Hart, President, Loma Linda University via ZOOM


Present:   Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Rachelle Bussell, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, LaDonna DiCamillo, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Milford Harrison, Dick Hart, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Ralph Kuncl, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Dan Little, John Mirau, Tomas Morales, Dan Murphy, Bansree Parikh, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Brian Reider, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Pete Van Helden, David VanVoorhis and Ray Wolfe.

M/S/P: Minutes from April 9, 2020.

Louis Goodwin, Chair presiding.

Dr. Hart introduced Dr. Tammi Thomas, Deal of the School of Medicine and Dr. Adrian Cotton, Chief of Medical Operations, Loma Linda University Medical Center.

A webinar hosted by IEEP is scheduled for Friday, April 17, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. and will contain general information and an update.  The expected peak of the virus has changed numerous times but is now thought to be Friday, April 17, 2020.  The number of tests available are starting to ramp up, but have been very difficult to come by.  Testing capabilities are limited and must be done by a provider not just a lab.  Testing will become more widely available in the next 2-4 weeks, but a vaccine will likely take a minimum of 6 months to a year.

Loma Linda has 3 levels of pandemic (surges) operational plans in place and are as prepared as possible.  They have had at most 24 cases and at this time they do not foresee an increase.  Concerns include a possible 2nd or 3rd bounce of this virus.  Our region has largely escaped a huge outbreak in part because of a lack of density in the IE.  Dr. Hart reported that our regional hospitals are currently prepared with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the health providers, tests for those who are symptomatic, and are equipped with plenty of available ICU beds and ventilators.

The CDC website remains the most up to date resource for symptoms, protection and contact information:   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html  In addition to the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties who are tracking the virus, the Esri web site has dedicated maps, resources and insights regarding COVID-19: https://www.esri.com/en-us/covid-19/overview

The official name for the virus is SARS-CoV-2 which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Coronaviruses are part of our day to day lives, and generally don’t cause much more than a mild to moderate cold.  Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with COVID-19.

The symptoms of COVID-19 infection range from little to no symptoms, to individuals being severely ill and dying.  Currently the CDC believes that symptoms appear in as little as 2 days or as long as 14 days after being exposed Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath

Our older residents (60 yr. plus) and those with existing conditions are especially at risk.  Death from the virus is 10.5% higher for cardiovascular patients, 7.3% higher for diabetes and 6.3% higher for chronic respiratory disease patients.

Fast intelligent action slows pandemic effects and mitigates overwhelming our healthcare systems.   The best prevention is avoiding the virus as much as possible.  The following are recommended:

  • Hand washing often with soap and water for no less than 20 seconds
  • If access to soap and water is not available, the use of alcohol base sanitizer is recommended.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing your hands.
  • Avoid contact with sick individuals
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately dispose of the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched as much as possible.

Since elective surgeries and non-essential procedures have been canceled, Loma Linda now has a 50% reduction in business and have been sending some 15-20 nurses home daily.  Many non-virus patients are being seen via phone or video.  This new “norm” in health care is being tried and will affect the future of both staffing and revenue.  The once needed vast parking lots may need to transition to phone banks.

History indicates we may expect some type of outbreak every 2-8 years.  Going forward we must focus on aggressive testing sooner than later.

A Q & A period followed.

Members were asked to approve the following Alternates:

  • Hospital Association of Southern California, Mark Gamble, Sr. V.P./Chief Operating Officer
  • East Valley Water District, Chris Carrillo, Governing Board Member

Meeting adjourned at 8:31 a.m.