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CASA Update on COVID-19 – January 12, 2021

As you know, the situation with the rising COVID-19 cases in California is dire and expected to continue to worsen in the coming days. As of yesterday, January 11, California has had 2,710,801 confirmed cases to date, and 29,965 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. According to the CA Department of Public Health, ICU capacity is insufficient, especially in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions which are reporting 0% capacity.

CDPH call for “all hands on deck”

At this point, CDPH is highly concerned about having the healthcare staff available in the state to provide needed care to California patients. On January 5, CDPH issued a public health order to reduce pressure on strained hospital systems and preserve resources. Additionally, CDPH is expressing the need for nurses and healthcare staff from ambulatory surgery centers or other facilities to help with the surge.

If there are any healthcare providers in your facility who are able to help with the surge by working in another facility or supporting hospital care or helping with vaccine distribution, we strongly urge you to reach out to your regional Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC). A list of the MHOAC contacts is available here.

Additionally, you or your healthcare contacts can register with the California Health Corps to express your interest in helping with emergency medical staffing where needed. The California Health Corps Deployment Team will help interested workers view open shifts and sign up, arrange for lodging, reimburse for travel expenses, answer questions and serve as a liaison.

CASA would be very interested in hearing from any ASC members regarding the ways your facility or your staff are helping support the COVID-related surge in your area – whether that is shifting your facility schedules to reduce pressure on staff, providing equipment or staff to local hospitals, taking on additional cases that would have been done in a nearby hospital, helping administer vaccine shots, etc. Please let us know so that we can best track how ASCs are acting as partners in their communities to battle this terrible surge.

Vaccination rollout

Vaccination rollout continues as well for the COVID-19 immunization. As of January 10, a total of 783,476 vaccine doses have been administered statewide – that is 31.6% out of the 2,466,125 vaccine doses that have been shipped to local health departments and health care systems.

The Governor acknowledged distribution has been too slow, and the state has now proposed more flexibility to speed up distribution.  “Health Departments may temporarily adjust prioritization based on other resource constraints while continuing efforts to immunize higher priority groups as soon as feasible,” the guidelines state.

Availability and access to the vaccine is being handled at a local level. If your facility  or staff have not yet had access to the vaccine, we encourage you to reach out to your local county health department – a list of contacts can be found here.  Each county is handling implementation slightly differently – for example, Los Angeles County announced yesterday that all healthcare industry workers can now receive vaccinations and it is opening up additional vaccine distribution sites across the county including Dodger Stadium. The LA County Dept. of Public Health Vaccine Healthcare Provider Information Hub hosts local, state, and national resources related to COVID-19 vaccination including how to become a COVID-19 vaccine provider and vaccine-related educational opportunities. Visit Vaccine Hub

Please keep us posted with your COVID-related care activities, how your ASC is fitting into your regional healthcare approach, and if you have questions.

Additional information on tracking COVID-19 in California can be found at:

State Dashboard – Daily COVID-19 data
County Map – Local data, including tier status and ICU capacity
Data and Tools – Models and dashboards for researchers, scientists and the public
Blueprint for a Safer Economy – Data for establishing tier status

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