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Stay healthy by staying informed

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s understandable to feel concerned. The shelter in place and other restrictions have been in place for some time, and it is natural for people to wish it to just be over. Unfortunately, it is not. We now see the number of COVID-19 cases spiking again in San Joaquin County and neighboring communities.

The mission of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital and Sutter Health is to improve the health of our community. With that in mind, here are a few simple but powerful things you can do to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus:

• Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others: Sheltering in place can be lonely, and it may be tempting to attend gatherings with family and friends, but gatherings increase the chances of spreading COVID-19. Follow San Joaquin County’s direction by practicing social distancing and avoiding large group gatherings. If you must be around people outside your household, maintain a 6-foot distance from others at all times.

• Wash your hands: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to keep germs from spreading. You can also use hand sanitizers if you are not near soap and water. Gloves do not replace hand-washing and sanitizing.

• Wear a face mask when near others: Avoid touching your face, and sneeze into tissues or the inside of your elbow. Wash your hands afterward.

• Do not delay urgent or preventive care: We have implemented stringent safety standards and taken specific steps recommended by federal and state agencies to help deliver care safely while protecting patients and staff from illness. If you need to see a doctor, you can do so in person or through a video visit. If you need emergency care, Sutter Tracy Community Hospital is open and welcoming patients. If you are not feeling well but do not require urgent care, stay home to prevent infecting others.

Here is more information on what we are doing at our hospital and across Sutter Health:

We maintain surge readiness: Our planning efforts allow us to expand our capacity to care for more patients, by two to three times if needed. Because we are part of Sutter Health’s integrated system, we currently have adequate supplies, including personal protective equipment, ventilators and beds.

We are sustaining a clean, safe hospital environment: To do so, we have implemented universal masking, instituted mandatory workforce and visitor screenings, and limited visitors. We have also increased the frequency of our cleaning and, with the help of donors to Tracy Hospital Foundation, purchased a disinfecting UV-light robot.

We continually improve our procedures: Hospitals across Sutter Health’s network have a long history of caring for patients with complex illnesses, including infectious diseases. As new information becomes available about COVID-19 (from trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and government agencies), we are using our experience and expertise to update how we care for patients.

As always, the health and safety of our patients, our care providers and the community remains our top priority. In return, we ask our community members to do what they can to help keep each other safe, healthy and informed.

David M. Thompson is CEO of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital. Dr. Phillip Yu is the chief medical executive, Dr. Shital Hubli is the chief of staff and Dr. Praveena Sarma is the hospital’s infectious disease specialist. 

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