RANCHO MIRAGE —Eisenhower Health has taken the opportunity to answer some of residents’ most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the following Q&A.

Who should be concerned about COVID-19?

People with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing or who have traveled in the past 14 days should call Eisenhower Health’s coronavirus hotline at 760-837-8988 or 760-TEST988 to determine next steps. In addition, elderly people and those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, HIV, and lung disease are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. People who meet these criteria should use social distancing to reduce public contact and possible exposure.

Who decides which patients should be tested? How long does it take to make that decision?

At this time, Eisenhower Health takes the direction of Riverside County Public Health (RCPH) who communicates directly with the CDC about which patients merit testing. It was not at Eisenhower’s discretion to test. On occasion, it has taken several days for RCPH/CDC to respond about whether a patient should be tested. Going forward (as of March 9, 2020), Eisenhower will be able to test without state authorization with a medical screening using the CDC approved criteria and physician order.

How long does it take for test results to be returned?

Once the sample (swab) was taken from a patient, it was picked up by RCPH and sent to an approved lab. Test results have taken between two days to more than a week. Going forward (as of March 9, 2020), a more rapid turnaround is expected.

Does Eisenhower have enough tests?

There is confusion in the community about the term “tests.” Eisenhower has a sufficient number of swabs for patients who have been approved for testing for COVID-19. Issues regarding delays with test results were due to the limited number of Department of Health-approved laboratories.

Which location should people go to if they have symptoms and who should they notify of their illness?

To minimize the continued spread of the virus within the community, particularly from younger, healthy people to elderly or immunocompromised patients who are at most risk of experiencing severe symptoms, Eisenhower Health is asking all people who are experiencing the above symptoms to call Eisenhower’s coronavirus hotline at 760-837-8988 (or 760-TEST988) before going to any facility. These patients will be advised on next steps. If they are told to come to the hospital, staff will take appropriate steps to prevent the patient from exposure to other patients and staff. As always, in the case of an emergency, people should call 911.

Why isn’t Eisenhower Health sharing details about the confirmed case they have at Eisenhower?

Eisenhower understands that community members are fearful of their exposure to the patient who has been confirmed to have COVID-19. RCPH’s review of the case concluded that no other patients were exposed or at risk. Beyond that, Eisenhower does not have any information about the patient’s activities prior to hospitalization. That is under investigation by RCPH. All other details about the patient are protected by HIPAA.

Is it safe to come to Eisenhower?

Yes, people with scheduled appointments and procedures should keep their appointments. As in any hospital, there are many infection control and management measures in place at all times. We manage infectious disease, like novel coronavirus, every day in the hospital – it’s what we do. We are here to care for everyone and to make sure everyone gets excellent care. There is no additional risk to patients or visitors now than there is any other day of the year.

How many patients confirmed with Coronavirus does Eisenhower Health have in the hospital?

Currently, two patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized at Eisenhower Health.

Image Sources

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Image by loufre from Pixabay