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RRH monitors, prepares for coronavirus

The Daily Independent - 3/9/2020

Mar. 6--Ridgecrest Regional Hospital announced it has been working with Kern County and California public health officials regarding the continued updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak that has spread through several countries, including the U.S.

"We are continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak in both the U.S. and countries across the world, and are working closely with Kern County and the state of California in taking all of the necessary steps required," said RRH CEO Jim Suver in a news release Thursday.

Brenda Diel, RRH's administrator of infection prevention and safety, added that the hospital is ready to deal with any potential local cases of COVID-19.

"RRH continues to prepare and be ready to take care of any patient(s) that could potentially have COVID-19. The advice we are giving at this time is if you, as a patient, are concerned that you might have COVID-19 or have been exposed, please call your doctor's office first," Diel said. "If you need to be seen in the Emergency Department, please inform the staff immediately so the appropriate steps can be taken."

The hospital noted that it has respiratory stations set up at entrance points and has increased signage and advice to patients throughout the campus. Plans have been made and continually reviewed to take care of an increase in patients, should the need arise.

Diet also stressed that Ridgecrest residents should continue to take precautions against the flu in addition to COVID-19.

"We would also like to remind people that we are still in flu season, which doesn't end until April 30," Diel said. "Influenza and the new coronavirus are both infectious respiratory illnesses, and although COVID-19 is caused by a different virus, the symptoms in the onset can appear very similar.

She stressed the need to take precautions with either virus.

"We would like to reiterate to the community to please wash hands frequently, cover when you cough and avoid touching your face," Diel said. If you are not feeling well and have someone in the hospital, reconsider visiting them and stay home if you are feeling unwell."

In a briefing the hospital received from Kern County Public Health Services this morning, 4 persons have been under investigation for COVID-19 in Kern County. As of 11:00 am, there are still no known cases in Kern County. One person has now been ruled out following negative test results, and test results for the other 3 people remain pending.

RRH continues in its efforts to care for our community and will make updates and information readily available as news develops.

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