Latest Updates: April 8, 2020

Plumas District Hospital tested a total of 76 employees over four days as part of the COVID-19 surveillance program for employees and physicians. Testing focused on personnel whose job duties require frequent patient contact.

After review of the returned results today, we are pleased to report that 55 results returned negative, and 21 are still pending.

As an additional precaution all employees will undergo a daily screening, including a temperature check, at the beginning of their shift and wear a surgical mask throughout the duration of their workday.

Plumas District Hospital continues to provide services. Our rural health clinics are open daily, to care for patients who have acute care needs, such as illnesses, injuries or required monitoring. In addition, the emergency room is open 24/7. When possible, we do encourage patients to use one of the following options for care that does not require a visit in person:

HealtheLife Patient Portal

If you haven't already, enroll in your HealtheLife patient portal today. You can message your care team through your HealtheLife patient portal account. Click here for full details, including a self-enrollment option at http://www.pdh.org/patients/healthlife.

Video Visits

Plumas District Hospital launched a new service - Video Visits - earlier this week. Video Visits are accessed through the hospital’s HealtheLife patient portal. The Video Visit allows patients to “see” their healthcare provider using a home computer or laptop. Next time you need an appointment be sure to ask if a Video Visit is right for you.


 

Up to date COVID-19 information can be found here:

Plumas County Public Health Agency

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 

Medical Clinics 

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or other illness, please continue to call our office for evaluation at 530-283-5640. 

Elective Surgery  

In accordance with recommendations from the U.S. Surgeon General and the American College of Surgeons, Plumas District Hospital has decided to postpone surgeries considered to be elective to a later date.  The new guidelines do NOT apply to EMERGENCY surgeries performed here. 

Visitor Restrictions 

Public entrance into the hospital is limited to the South Hall (Emergency Department) entrance at this time. While we understand that visits from family, friends and loved ones is important to the healing of our inpatients, to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, Plumas District Hospital will not be accepting visitors.  If your family member or friend is hospitalized, we encourage you to telephone them by dialing 530-283-2121 and asking for them by name or room number.   

Certain exceptions apply to the following:

  • Patients in end-of-life situations (limit 2)
  • Birth of baby.  One birth support person for labor & delivery (limit 1)
  • Minors (under 18).  One parent/guardian (limit 1)
  • Outpatient procedure/surgery or to assist with ambulation (limit 1)

If there are extenuating circumstances, we will be compassionate in granting exceptions.  All visitors must pass a respiratory illness screening.  

Diagnostic Imaging

In accordance with recommendations from the American College of Radiologist, Plumas District Hospital is postponing screening mammograms to a later date.  Patients who are affected by this change are being notified beginning today. 

Dental Services

In accordance with recommendations from the California Dental Association, we have postponed all elective dental services until further notice.  Our office is available to treat dental emergencies.  Patients who are experiencing a dental EMERGENCY should call 530-283-3915.

Medical Records Requests

Please follow this process to request copies of your medical records.  Medical records may be accessed through your HealtheLife patient portal as well.     

Questions from Joint Facebook Live Event

Watch full video here

Question:

Should our community be upping our Vitamin C? What would you recommend for immune support?

Answered by Ross Morgan MD:

To boost your resistance, get plenty of rest, eat healthy and maintain healthy social and spiritual practices. Regarding useful supplements, the evidence is sparse. My common sense advice is if you already have one that you have found helps you prevent or minimize common cold and flu symptoms, like Vitamin C perhaps go ahead and use it. I’m a fan of Umcka and Elderberry. 

Also, I can’t miss the opportunity to stress methods to avoid infection with the COVID-19 virus:

1. Don’t touch your face without washing your hands first

2. “Friends don’t let friends touch their face.” Remind your friends and loved ones not to touch their fact, which spreads germs on hands into the respiratory trac

3. Keep social distancing - eye contact and verbal greeting is the “new handshake” 

Question:

Are there any useful medicines being implemented globally, that are helping treat and/or reducing fatalities? What about malaria medicine and Z-paks?

Answered by Jeff Kepple MD:

The World Health Organization is currently performing a multinational clinical trial called "The Solidarity Trial.” Medications being examined for effectiveness include: Remdesivir, Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir+Ritonivir, and Lopinavir+Ritonivir+Beta-interferon. 

At this time however, we only have anecdotal reports. These are not controlled studies where all bias is removed. A common antibiotic (not anti-viral), Zithromax (Z-pak) has also been anecdotally reported to work in conjunction with chloroquine, but there is no clear evidence to of the drugs’ efficacy. Please do not obtain prescriptions of any of these medications as a “just in case,” as there are already shortages.

Question:

Will people who don’t show symptoms need to be tested so they are ruled out?

Answered by Andrew Woodruff MPH:

This is a complicated issue, and one that will continue to change as testing availability increases across the country. In an ideal world, we would want to test as many people as possible so that we could contain the spread of disease and assist people is isolating when they become sick. As of this writing, there are not enough tests to test people who do not have symptoms. If a person without symptoms has contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, then testing may be performed. We hope that as time goes on, testing will become more widely available.

Question:

Do we have to report any cold/flu symptoms to the doctor? Even if they are just a sniffle or sore throat, or only if the COVID-19 symptoms?

Answered by Ross Morgan MD:

There is no need to report simple and typical cold symptoms unless: 

1. You are in a risk group such- elderly, lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure o

2. You are suspicious you have had particular COVID-19 exposure due to travel or household contact or other significant contact with a known COVID-19 carrier. If you have fever, a new cough or shortness of breath, any of which seem unusual for you, then you should definitely report that and likely speak to your doctor. As always if you think you have the flu you should report that right within 72 hours of onset and consider being treated with Tamiflu (flumadine) if influenza is proven or highly suspected.

Question:

What about people that have already had pneumonia? Are we more susceptible? Will we be worse off? How about people that have had a pneumonia shot?

Answered by Jeff Kepple MD:

People who have COPD, moderate to severe asthma or other chronic lung diseases are at risk for more serious infections from COVID-19, particularly in the elderly. Having a history of uncomplicated pneumonia, in the absence of chronic lung disease, is not likely to put you more at risk. The pneumonia vaccine helps protect against the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, namely pneumococcus. This vaccine does not protect against the COVID-19 virus.

Question:

Will PDH be more equipped to deal with pediatric pulmonary issues, or would a severe asthmatic kid who gets this virus be automatically sent to a pediatric hospital?

Answered by Ross Morgan MD:

Plumas District Hospital is prepared to stabilize and initially manage pediatric patients as usual. We do have the necessary equipment. In many cases after initial evaluation and stabilization it may be appropriate to transfer patients to a larger hospital with pediatric specialty care and pediatric ICU services. Decisions to stay at Plumas District Hospital for anticipated short hospital stays are made on a case by case basis. Fortunately, our children in general are spared from the COVID-19 illness severity that is seen in older adults.

Question:

Is it true that an asthmatic who takes daily steroids might have some built in protection for dealing with this virus?

Answered by Ross Morgan MD:

It would be purely speculative to comment on the chronic use of steroids and any possible benefit. It is important that patients continue the patient-specific doctor recommended management of asthma unless specifically directed otherwise by the attending doctor.

Question:

Are blood donations needed at this point in time? If so, how, when & where? -Ross Morgan

Answered by Ross Morgan MD:

Blood donations are indeed needed in general as many donors are unable to donate for obvious reasons. If you would like to donate, please contact the Reno Blood Bank to determine how and when this might be done safely. We currently have a sufficient supply of blood products on hand at Plumas District Hospital.

Question:

What precautions should I be taking when I go to the grocery store or gas station?

Answered by Andrew Woodruff MPH:

First of all, limit the number of times you go out to seek necessary services, like groceries and gas. When you do go out, try to go at times that are less crowded, and do your best buy enough so that you don’t have to go back too often. When you are in public and touching things that others may have touched, remember to not touch your face, and if you sneeze or cough, make sure you cover with the inside of your elbow. Carrying hand sanitizer or wipes can help keep your hands clean during an outing, as well as items that may be heavily used by yourself and others, like grocery cart handles and gas pump handles. Consider wiping the surfaces of your car that you have touched when you get home, like steering wheel and handles.

Question:

I heard you should not take Ibuprofen if you have the virus, instead acetaminophen is recommended. Is this true?

Answered by Jeff Kepple MD:

This has now been disseminated with significant misinformation on texting and twitter threads. This possibility was conjectured by France’s Health Minister, when there were concerns of ibuprofen “worsening the infection.” However, weeks later, there is still no data to support this claim. This is a classic example of how anecdotal information can feed into exaggerated fact claims before there is solid evidence.

Question:

Is there a test or will there or will there be one soon, that can identify if I already had COVID-19?

Answered by Jeff Kepple MD:

Not yet. These are antibody tests, and they are not currently available for clinical use as of the date of this response.