Miller Report for the Week of August 17th, 2020
By William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital
It is with cautious optimism that I report that it appears we have quelled the COVID outbreak at our local nursing home, Sherwood Oaks. This outbreak began on July 3rd and continued spreading for several weeks until a consortium was formed of health leaders from that facility, the county health department and our hospital. A plan was devised to bring every resident of the nursing home who tested positive to our hospital to limit continued spread as well as relieve what was developing into a staffing crisis.
Of the 24 nursing home residents who became infected, a total of 14 were hospitalized in our designated COVID unit. Most were elderly and frail, and several had advanced lung disease. Some remained without symptoms while about 1/3 got very sick. None required being put on a ventilator. The only medical treatment given was extra oxygen and dexamethasone. I am happy to report that every one of these patients has made a complete recovery and returned to Sherwood Oaks and as of this week, the last resident was returned to his home in Sherwood Oaks.
I am indeed proud of the outcome of this collaborative effort which clearly saved lives. Thank you to both Mr. Maloney and Dr. Cottle for your leadership of your facility during an incredibly stressful time and holding things together when the staffing crisis was truly at a breaking point. Thank you so much to our Public Health partners, especially Dr. Doohan, who provided guidance as well as facilitating the testing needed and supplied ample amounts of PPE. Thank you to Adventist Health leadership who stepped up quickly and made it possible to take these patients to our hospital. And thank you to our partners in the City of Fort Bragg government, Mayor Will Lee and City Manager Tabatha Miller.
Most of all, however, I want to thank the staff of both Sherwood Oaks and Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital. The nurses, nursing aides, housekeepers, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, lab techs, ambulance crews and so many more are the true heroes. I am so proud of all of you for your professionalism and courage. In our debriefing that we held yesterday after the last patient left, we identified that it was strong team work and good communication that made this possible. I would add that it was also the tender loving care that the staff of both facilities have given these patients that made the biggest difference and is the reason behind this success.
We learned a lot from the experience and our debriefing identified areas that we will improve upon for the next time that we admit COVID patients to our hospital. We know that this was only the first of what may be many more opportunities yet to come to show what we can do as a community to fight this pandemic.