Hospital Corner – July, 2021

Hospital Corner – July, 2021

We need to talk about wearing masks when visiting the hospital, clinic, or nursing home. Please understand that federal mask requirement for healthcare facilities is all about science, not personal beliefs, assumptions or wild internet theories.  The singular priority for any hospital is patient safety (same goes for clinic and skilled nursing facility): we are mandated to do all we can to keep patients and residents safe.  If that involves everyone wearing a mask because epidemiologists and other scientists have high confidence that it lowers the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and other diseases to vulnerable patients and residents in our care, then so be it.  Medical providers and nursing staff across the country have faced angry and at times violent resistance to mask mandates in healthcare facilities; sadly, this has happened too often in Hawthorne as well.  Out of respect for others, put your mask on (over mouth and nose) before entering your local hospital, clinic or SNF.  Once again, this is not about you: it’s about the sick, the elderly and the frail.  Given that our SNF is attached to hospital and staff work in both areas, we are dedicated to protecting residents. They are relying on us—just as someday, we will be relying on others for our care.

Sixteen months!  That’s how long our SNF residents have gone without weekly Wednesday bingo and lunch at Care & Share.  Earlier this month, that came to an end, now that most (but not all) COVID restrictions have been lifted.  Exuberance is the best way to describe the mood and energy of residents as they prepared for this much anticipated outing.  Thanks to Care & Share staff for all their hard work to make this possible.  Our residents are now looking forward to an upcoming breakfast visit to the El Capitan.

A few years back, Mt. Grant General was one of the first hospitals in Nevada to hold an active shooter drill (we did it again a year later). Earlier this month, in conjunction with MCSO, MCFD, HWAD, SOC and the Emergency Management Office, we were the first Nevada hospital (urban or rural) to participate in an Opioid Mass Casualty drill.  The timely brainchild of MGGH Safety Officer Carol Lemieux, this highly realistic scenario is one all too common in rural America; Mineral County is not exempt from such a possibility as well.  Thanks to hospital staff, EMS, deputies and others for their commitment to public safety and health.  Such a team effort may never be needed, but, as the saying goes, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Outpatients and hospital visitors are now required to “self-screen” when entering.  Use scanner for temperature check and let staff know if you have any of the following symptoms: fever/chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting, or diarrhea.  Doing all we can to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Regular readers of this column (especially the last six months) are probably curious why you have yet to see the word vaccination.  Well, the wait is over!  As of today (July 22), there are 14 active COVID-19 cases in Mineral County; may not seem like a lot but we had ZERO cases for months up until a few weeks ago.  Sadly, there is an inverse relationship between these rising cases and the steep drop in vaccinations—and end of mask mandate.  With only 41% of county residents fully vaccinated, no surprise to see a surge in positive cases. Fortunately the delta variant has yet to reach us but it surely will, and with school opening in mid August, now is time for the unvaccinated to see your local provider or the community health nurse about the shot.  As noted earlier, others (of all ages) are counting on you.

Hugh Qualls, Administrator