Saturday, March 21, 2020

Open Door Announces Changes, Explains COVID-19 Efforts

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 3:48 PM

Open Door Community Health Centers sent out a trio of press releases today announcing a variety of changes at its clinics, including that staff is currently  evaluating all scheduled appointments to determine which can be rescheduled to a future date in an effort to reduce pressure on the local healthcare system and potential COVID-19 exposure for staff and patients.

"The current COVID-19 pandemic is a unique and rapidly changing event for our country and the world," one of the releases states. "We acknowledge the necessity for clear, transparent and frequent communication."
click to enlarge Open Door Community Health Centers' Eureka Community Health and Wellness Center on Tydd Street. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Open Door Community Health Centers' Eureka Community Health and Wellness Center on Tydd Street.
Open Door says it is following guidance from state, federal and local public health officials, that it is vital that the network remain open, and that Open Door is "developing stringent guidelines to mitigate spread of the disease."

More specifically, Open Door says it is working with local partners to align efforts to increase community capacity for COVID-19 screenings, while also limiting the number of people physically in its health centers by developing infrastructure that allows staff to work from home and treat patients remotely when possible, and asking patients not to bring companions to their appointments.

The clinic will also be deferring routine appointments and preventative dental services.

"These necessary protective measures require a temporary reduction in our dental workforce," one of the releases states, adding that "essential dental services" will still be provided.

"We ask our community to please contact us if they are in need of emergency services that cannot be put off," the release states.

Also, effective Monday, all medical clinical staff in high-risk groups will begin working from home.

Open Door, meanwhile, urges local residents to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community by practicing social distancing, avoiding non-essential contact with other people, refraining from travel, washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, avoiding touching their faces, doing their best to eat healthy, stay active and get adequate rest, and by recognizing that routine, non-urgent medical appoints will need to be rescheduled.



"Open Door has served the North Coast for almost 50 years," the release states. "We will continue this tradition and together we will make it through these difficult times."

Yesterday, Humboldt County confirmed it's second positive COVID-19 test in someone who had recently traveled to a "high-risk" country, with officials saying there is no evidence of community spread in the case. The first positive case was recorded in the county last month in someone who had recently traveled to China and has since recovered. To date, the results of only 71 local tests have been made public by the Humboldt County Public Health Lab, with 68 negative results, one that came back inconclusive and the two positive tests. An unknown number of samples have also been sent to out-of-area corporate labs for testing as well, but the results of those have not yet been released.

The Humboldt County Public Health Lab had 224 tests on hand as of yesterday, though Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich told the Journal last week those tests, which have a faster turnaround time than those processed at the corporate labs, are being prioritized for patients who are at risk of becoming gravely ill or who have a high likelihood of increasing spread of the virus, like healthcare workers are people living in skilled nursing facilities.

Humboldt County remains under a shelter in place order announced Thursday. Find specifics on what that order does and doesn't allow here.

For more information on the virus, its symptoms and local resources, click here.

See the full releases copied below:


A Message From Open Door Community Health Centers:
COVID-19 and Patient Services
ARCATA, CA – Open Door Community Health Centers is committed to providing patients with essential health services during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Care teams are evaluating all appointments to determine which should be kept as scheduled and which need to be rescheduled to a future date.
The “shelter in place” order for Humboldt County and Governor Newsom’s order for the state of California, make exemption for health care, including health care workers and patients accessing care. However, Open Door is also developing stringent guidelines to mitigate spread of the disease.
Effective immediately, dental services are limited to emergency only. Dental hygiene or non-urgent care appointments are canceled and will be rescheduled as circumstances allow. School-based dental services are postponed until schools reopen.
We ask Open Door patients to do the following:
• If you are sick, please contact your health center before you come in
• Expect to be greeted by a staff person, at your health center’s front door, to have your temperature taken, before being directed into the health center
• Please call ahead before you come in for a lab only appointment
• If you have an urgent dental need (pain, infection, swelling, or broken teeth), please call your dental center for an appointment
• Sign up to MyChart—our online patient portal—to communicate online with your care team
• Unless a companion is essential to your care, do not bring a companion along to appointments; please call your health center in advance to discuss your needs


A Message From Open Door Community Health Centers:
COVID-19 & Temporary Reduction to Workforce
ARCATA, CA – Due to changes in best practices for health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic Open Door is deferring routine appointment types and preventative dental services. These necessary protective measures require in a temporary reduction in our dental workforce.
Our health centers remain open for essential dental services. We ask our community to please contact us if they are in need emergency services that cannot be put off. We recognize that we are the only dental providers still operating. Open Door’s decision to temporarily reduce our dental workforce is based on current guidance, staffing and service needs, and staff risk factors.
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, medical clinic staff in high risk groups will work from home. We continue to develop infrastructure for staff to work from home, and for remote patient care. Our medical clinics are still operational and adapting to meet our community needs.
Open Door Leadership is providing compensation, benefits, and other support as possible to affected staff.
As staffing needs and factors affecting Open Door change we will call staff back to work. This reduction in workforce is based solely on best practices to protect staff and community, and does not reflect upon the good work or value Open Door places on each staff person. This necessary reduction is solely due to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Message From Open Door Community Health Centers:
COVID-19 and Our Community
ARCATA, CA – The current COVID-19 pandemic is a unique and rapidly changing event for our country and the world. We acknowledge the necessity for clear, transparent, and frequent communication.
Open Door is following guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials. While it is vital that our health centers remain open, as we face COVID-19, we continue to evaluate the situation and work to minimize risk to staff, patients, and the community.
The “shelter in place” order for Humboldt County and Governor Newsom’s order for the state of California, make exemption for health care, including health care workers and patients accessing care. However, Open Door is also developing stringent guidelines to mitigate spread of the disease.
Open Door’s strategy includes:
• Working with local partners to align efforts and increase our community capacity for screening
• Monitoring clinical guidance as it develops to keep staff and operations up to date
• Limiting numbers of people in the health center by developing infrastructure for staff to work from home, and for remote patient care when possible, rescheduling or canceling group visits, and asking patients not to bring companions to their appointments
If individuals follow the strategy of “social distancing,” before there are many local cases, we can greatly reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Please help Open Door help the community. In order to “flatten the curve”:
• Avoid non-essential social contact with other people and do not travel
• Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and thoroughly
• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap
• Avoid touching your face
• Do your best to eat healthy, stay active, and get adequate rest
• Recognize that medical appointments for routine, non-urgent care will need to be rescheduled
Open Door has served the North Coast for almost 50 year. We will continue this tradition and together we will make it through these difficult times.

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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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