Hospital tent

Staff members work inside a tent set up outside the Sutter Tracy Community Hospital emergency room entrance Wednesday afternoon.

Sutter Tracy Community Hospital is putting strict limits on who can visit and postponing surgeries as hospitals throughout the county take steps to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

San Joaquin County Public Health Services issued an order that went into effect Sunday morning to limit visitors to all seven hospitals in the county.

The only visitors who are allowed inside the Tracy hospital right now are people supporting children under 18 or patients with disabilities, the partners of mothers in labor, and people visiting patients who are dying. The hospital suggests telephone calls and videoconferencing instead of in-person visits.

All elective surgeries that can be safely rescheduled are being postponed to save equipment and space for an expected increase in COVID-19 patients. Patients will hear directly from the hospital if their surgery is postponed.

“We are preparing all of our network hospitals in the event we see a surge in patients due to COVID-19,” hospital CEO Dave Thompson said in a written statement. “We are also leveraging the strength of our integrated network to increase our capacity by continuing to educate Sutter patients about the variety of options available to them. Sutter patients who feel ill should consider a video visit to see if they meet the criteria for testing. If their symptoms are mild or moderate, they do not need testing. We ask they please stay home to prevent further exposure and take care of themselves.”

The hospital at 1420 N. Tracy Blvd. has also set up “surge tents” outside to help limit contact between patients with respiratory ailments and other members of the community.

For information: Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, 835-1500, www.sutterhealth.org/stch.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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