County officials are hoping that expansive transparency via an online COVID-19 dashboard (tinyurl.com/scc-covid19-dashboard) will reassure residents that they won’t be seeing the kinds of sights locally that have been on TV from Italy and New York City.
“By sharing data …I think we’ll reassure people that our hospitals currently have a significant amount of remaining capacity,” Deputy County Executive David Campos said at a County Dept. of Public Health briefing last week.
Combined with social distancing, the mobilization looks to be successful, according to models (tinyurl.com/scc-capacity-models) that were published Tuesday afternoon showing that anticipated hospitalizations will stay below total capacity; something that would not have happened without the social distancing and personal protective measures, said County Public Health Officer Sara Cody.
The Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center team of about 50 is working 24/7 to mobilize county resources for a coming surge of COVID-19 cases, said Director of Healthcare Surge Capacity Planning, Dr. Jennifer Tong, at last week’s briefing. “We are collaborating with each hospital in our county.”
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Inventory
The County launched a comprehensive inventory of personal protective equipment, County Attorney James Williams announced at an online briefing Wednesday morning.
The County asks businesses and individuals, by April 15, to report stocks of items including masks, gloves, goggles, gowns, sanitizing wipes, gallon-sized hand sanitizers, ventilators and clinical respiratory hoods. The full list can be found at tinyurl.com/scc-ppe-inventory. The information will remain confidential, said Williams.
“We are preparing for a scenario where there might not be enough PPE …currently our hospitals have sufficient supplies,” said Tong. “This is a unique situation.”
“We are planning for the worst, hoping for the best,” said County Supervisor Mike Wasserman. “The order is about protecting people who protect us. We have a shortage of PPE needed by our healthcare professionals.
Second on Tong’s list are hospital beds. Every hospital in the county is adding beds, she noted, and, some, entire units. “We are all collaborating to identify the equipment, supplies, medications that we all need to prepare for to take care of such an increase,” she said.
In addition to 250 beds at the Santa Clara Convention Center, the County is also increasing the number of beds for convalescing patients who continue to need skilled nursing care.
The third prong of the mobilization is staffing, said Tong, and hospitals are incorporating volunteers from the community and expediting hiring practices.
One local medical care leader began mobilizing in February.
Kaiser Permanente’s national command center was up and running 24/7 since then, said Chris Boyd, Senior Vice President and Area Manager.
“Every aspect of our operations has been touched in some way,” Boyd said in an email. “We are taking aggressive and proactive action to get ready for the projected increases in …patients with COVID-19 in the near and long-term future.”
The HMO’s plan will ensure space and supplies for safe patient care and staff protection, Boyd said, and increase capacity in existing facilities, and evaluate non-traditional spaces for patient care. Kaiser Permanente is also waiving out of pocket costs for coronavirus treatment.
“We work closely with federal, state and local public health authorities… directing a coordinated response to COVID-19.”
As of press time, 45 percent of Santa Clara County Hospitals’ acute care beds (748) were available, 30 percent of its ICU beds (91), 69 percent of its ventilators (443) and 99 percent of its 1,476 surge capacity beds.