Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
In a recent video message, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) CEO/President Dr. Brian Evans answered a community member’s question about the difference between two tests being given for COVID-19. The one that most are familiar with is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that is given to patients with symptoms and provides a positive or negative result. Because of availability, this test is still only being given to patients showing symptoms with a doctor’s order, although Governor Gavin Newsom hopes to get enough testing supply to test more broadly throughout the state in the not so distant future.
The antibody test is for those suspected to have already contracted COVID-19. This test looks for IgG (Immunoglobulin) antibodies. It usually signifies someone has had an infection and has mounted some immune response to it. Because it is a new infection, experts are not yet sure what the level of protection someone may have, whether they’ll be completely immune once they’ve had it and how long that immunization will last. Gathering data from the antibody test will be an important tool for identifying future steps in battling COVID-19. While these tests are not widely available yet, this is coming.
Related to this, Nevada County and Connecting Point have teamed up to provide an additional way for the public to contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 in our community. To help track the virus spread, the Public Health Department encourages community members that may be experiencing symptoms to please fill out a Community Symptoms Report survey. The survey can be found by going to the Nevada County COVID-19 Symptom Tracker or by calling call 211 (or 1-833-DIAL211) and the call agent can complete the form on your behalf.
You may start to hear the words “recovery mode.” While this means different things for our state, county and our two cities, for our hospital it means looking at when SNMH can restart elective surgeries, tests, and more. Hospital leadership is following the lead of the governor and looking at a number of factors including discussions with other experts in public health, to determine when it may be safe to begin these procedures as well. While COVID-19 is top of mind, there are many people with other medical needs that need care so the goal is to make some of these offerings available in the near future.
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In addition to video messages to the community from SNMH, CEO/President, Dr. Brian Evans can be found on Channel 10 (ABC) every Wednesday for the next four weeks at 9 a.m. with Walt Gray answering questions about COVID-19. Those interested in being on the SNMH Foundation e-blast list to keep abreast of what the hospital is doing can email infoSNMHF@dignityhealth.org and ask to be put on the list.
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