Authorities seek to know more quickly the number of patients with the disease; health personnel talk about their experience in the face of the pandemic
Dressed in isolation gowns, masks, gloves, and goggles, dozens of medical personnel collected swab nasal samples Saturday during the community coronavirus test in the town of Lake Elsinore, Riverside County.
Organized by the region's Department of Public Health with the intention of detecting cases and halting the spread of the virus, the free event collected samples from at least 200 people with symptoms of the disease, who traveled to countries where COVID-19 has strong presence or who had contact with infected people.
“We don't want to give the test to all people, only to those who have symptoms of the disease.
Others must heed federal and state recommendations, stay home if their duties are not essential, ”said Mahbuba Khan, director of the University of California Riverside Health System Medical Center.
The person in charge of the event, which took place in the parking lot of the Storm baseball stadium, indicated that they gain ground on a daily basis in terms of tests.
He thanked the local authorities for the leadership to put the available resources to use and obtain additional resources.
“Every day is different but today I feel more supported. My team feels positive about the situation. Knowing how many people are infected gives us the guideline to know how serious the situation is (here), ”said Khan.
Event this Sunday
A second event will take place today Sunday at the same facilities from 9:30 a.m. at 3:00 p.m.
Medical personnel from various hospitals and private clinics in the Inland Empire region will care for anyone from any city in the region. However, an appointment is required to be attended. For future events you can call 1 (800) 945-6171.
Khan said the test involves collecting a single nasopharyngeal swab (swab), which is then placed into sterile tubes containing 2-3 ml. of a saline solution that helps keep the virus alive for testing.
The tests were placed in coolers and then sent to private laboratories, in this instance to LabCorp, he explained.
The results will be known in two or three days and the positive results should be reported to the Department of Public Health.
To date, Riverside County has recorded 30 confirmed cases and five deaths from COVID-19, all registered in the Coachella Valley.
For its part, the number of COVID-19 cases in San Bernardino County increased to nine on Friday, March 20, and no deaths have been reported, according to the Department of Public Health.
Additional cases are expected to emerge across the region as more test results are reported to the county.
The goal is to reduce the spread of the virus
Dr. Erin Gustafson, Health Officer, said the county is complying with state public health orders to prevent the spread of the virus.
Massive events to collect evidence have not yet been held in the largest county in territory in the nation.
"These orders are not intended to cause panic, but rather to reduce the spread of the infection and minimize the number of people who become ill at any time to keep our health system running," Gustafson said in a press release.
"We must assume and behave as if the virus is everywhere."
County spokesman David West said local authorities are trying to determine how many tests have been carried out.
He added that most of the tests are being carried out by private laboratories, including Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp.
West said the county Department of Public Health laboratory criteria are the same as the state / federal testing criteria.
This means that the patient must show signs of fever or symptoms of lower respiratory disease, acute or severe fever. Added to this is a history of travel to affected geographical areas in the last 14 days before the onset of symptoms or previous exposure to other people sick with COVID-19.
Medical personnel at all levels bravely face the coronavirus pandemic, even risking their lives.
And it is that the vocation to help another, places doctors, nurses, nursing assistants and others, in danger of contagion.
Daniela Peralta, 26, who is a home nurse, visits between eight and 12 patients at home each day in the Coachella Valley – who has already suffered four deaths from COVID-19.
"Yes, we are afraid, we are very concerned about the situation but we do it because it is our vocation.
We as nurses know how to protect ourselves, with or without a pandemic, we are always washing our hands, ”he says.
"With people panicking, they not only put their lives at risk, but the lives of others, including my elderly patients," he added.
The young woman with six years of experience said that her personal care has doubled as she is often exposed to secretions from patients.
COVID-19 most often impacts seniors and those with existing health problems.
Data from the California Department of Public Health indicate that of the 1,224 confirmed cases as of this Saturday, 321 were over the age of 65.
Peralta said that in addition to caring for them, taking their vital signs and making sure they take their medicine on time, educates them about the pandemic.
One aspect that motivates her is that most of her patients have no family or friends and almost always live in total and partial abandonment.
"We know that the disease does not show up immediately, so we expose ourselves every day …
I do it because I imagine they are my relatives and (also because) I would like someone to worry about me if I were them, ”he said.