SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Life at local hospitals has changed for the foreseeable future as facilities prepare for an influx of patients potentially infected with COVID-19.
Appointments and some surgeries are being canceled to keep essential hospital staff available to care for serious illnesses.
John Muir Health, the Sutter Health Network and Kaiser Permanente – Three major hospitals in the East Bay say it’s no longer as simple and easy as walking into one of their facilities unannounced to receive care.
Previously scheduled primary care and urgent care appointments are being honored but all three hospitals say walk-ins are no longer being accepted.
Some non-emergency surgeries are being postponed or cancelled and in an effort to minimize the potential of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 exposure to patients and staff.
All patients are being screened over the phone at John Muir before scheduling any appointment and the option to book new appointments online has been disabled.
Both Sutter Health and John Muir also have medical symptom checker systems available on their websites where you can enter any symptoms you may have and determine whether or not you require in-person emergency care.
If you only need to speak with a medical professional, over the phone or through an online or video chat.
The hospitals are also encouraging social distancing.
Patients are being asked to use mail order pharmacy services.
Visitors in end of life situations, or pregnancies may be allowed entry, otherwise, visitations are being restricted.
All of these steps are helping to ensure the hospitals are not overwhelmed by large amounts of people seeking care at once, which could bog down the health systems.
In line with the other hospitals, John Muir says it is prepared to care for COVID-19 patients.
In a statement, the hospital says:
“In our medical centers, we have a number of negative pressure, airborne isolation rooms, which prevent infections from spreading to any other patients or visitors.”
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