A steady rise in COVID-19 cases across the state has led the California Department of Public Health to issue public health orders that will affect visitation and operational policies at Northern Inyo Healthcare District for the foreseeable future.
State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón said these orders are designed to protect vulnerable patients in healthcare settings, ensure that healthcare workers are themselves protected, and encourage vaccinations to end the pandemic.
Effective today, Wednesday, Aug. 11, the first order requires the following from all visitors so they can access NIHD’s hospital building:
• Proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This order defines being “fully vaccinated” as a person two weeks past receiving their last COVID vaccination, be it two weeks after the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
• NIHD is responsible for verifying vaccination status at the time of a visitor’s entry and will be looking for the following:
• COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (issued either by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or the World Health Organization), or,
• A photo of a CDC or WHO Vaccination Record Card as a separate document, or,
• A photo of a CDC or WHO Vaccination Record Card stored on a mobile phone or electronic device, or,
• Documentation of COVID-19 vaccination from a health care provider, or,
• A digital record that includes a QR code that staff can scan
• The new order also requires unvaccinated or partially vaccinated visitors to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test – either antigen or PCR – within the last 72 hours to gain entry go the hospital for visitation.
• For those seeking testing, please visit https://www.inyocounty.us/covid-19/testing for up-to-date testing locations. Currently testing is available in Bishop at the Tri-County Fairgrounds on Mondays and in Lone Pine at the Senior Center on Fridays. The County is working to expand testing offerings. Please watch for more information on this.
• Exemptions: Individuals visiting the following special populations are exempt from the vaccination or testing requirement:
• Patients in critical condition or who may be at end of life
• Pediatric patients
• Labor and delivery patients
• Patients with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments
NIHD will continue to conduct temperature screenings at its entrances. No visitors displaying COVID-like symptoms may enter NIHD. All visitors must wear a cloth mask (gaiters and face shields are not accepted) and practice physical distancing from healthcare personnel and others at the facility. This CDPH order covers all general acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities. NIHD will continue to keep the public informed of any visitation changes.
Healthcare workers and vaccinations
The second CDPH order requires all workers who provide services in healthcare facilities such as NIHD to have their first dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccination or the second of a two-dose vaccination by Thursday, Sept. 30.
Once again, proof of vaccination is required. Exemption consideration may be given to those workers with religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons. Workers exempt from these requirements must undergo up to bi-weekly testing with either antigen or PCR testing.
NIHD’s Human Resources Department is working very closely with the District’s Senior Leadership, Incident Command, and legal counsel to comply with these orders by the required dates. NIHD will send out more information and education to the NIHD team as the District moves through this process.
• Order of the State Public Health Officer Requirements for Visitors in Acute Health Care and Long-Term Care Settings – https://bit.ly/3CxUwnt
• Order of the State Public Health Officer Health Care Worker Vaccine Requirement – https://bit.ly/3s289GK
• Information on the different brands of vaccine – https://bit.ly/3iu8Aqd
• How to sign-up to receive the free vaccination – https://myturn.ca.gov/
• How to digitally access your vaccine record: https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/
• Latest Inyo County COVID-19 Case Rate – https://bit.ly/3s1Akpk