In an effort to protect patients and associates, Adventist Health Lodi Memorial is temporarily suspending the admission of non-COVID-19 patients as it manages a surge of positive cases among its staff, the hospital announced in a press release Saturday.
Fewer than 30 team members -- the hospital didn't release specific numbers and also declined to answer how many patients are currently being treated for COVID-19 at the hospital -- have tested positive for the virus in the past seven days, with many showing no symptoms, according to the press release.
The positive cases are “from all different disciplines but mostly isolated isolated to one unit,” hospital officials said, adding that hospital staff will be tested several times during the next two weeks to identify any potential additional positive tests.
The emergency room at Lodi Memorial is still open. The obstetrics and gynecology department also remains open to serve expectant mothers. Lodi Memorial’s labor and delivery and post-partum units are in separate areas of the hospital and only staff and physicians who work in those units have access, hospitals officials said. Staff members in those units do not work in any other units.
“Our emergency department and clinics are open and able to care for patients during this time,” Dr. Patricia Iris, medical officer of Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, said. “It’s critically important that community members continue to seek care when they need it, especially those who are feeling chest pain, experiencing stroke symptoms or having other serious concerns. Please, do not delay your care.”
Patients who don’t have COVID-19 and need hospital care will be admitted to Dameron Hospital in Stockton, which is managed by Adventist Health.
Existing patients were not transferred from Lodi Memorial and are being cared for in a separate unit of the hospital by nurses who are only caring for patients in that isolated area, hospital officials said, adding that those nurses have all tested negative for COVID-19 and are not crossing over to any other unit.
“The safety and well-being of our nurses, associates, physicians and patients are our top priority,” Iris said. “Despite strict safety protocols, training and use of personal protective equipment, more of our staff began testing positive this week. As a result, we decided to test all associates working in the hospital to give us a more complete understanding of the spread.”
The hospital has been taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, following the guidance of the state and local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iris said.
Currently, anyone entering the hospital or other clinical locations, including associates and physicians, are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entry. Masks are required in all locations.
The Lodi and Dameron hospitals have been preparing for this type of surge since the pandemic began, said Daniel Wolcott, President of both hospitals.
“We are grateful and very appreciative to the entire Adventist Health team, who continue to go above and beyond to serve our communities with compassion and professionalism,” Wolcott said. “They are healthcare heroes in every sense of the word.”