Our Message to Patients: Our Facilities are SAFE!

Posted: May 20, 2020

Seth Kaufman, M.D., and Shanaz Khambatta, D.O., each stepped into the digital spotlight in the past two weeks to share NorthBay Healthcare’s message with the world: “Our hospitals and facilities are safe for patients.”

For Dr. Kaufman, it was a 30-plus-minute #OurDocTalk on Facebook Live last Thursday, in which he fielded nearly two dozen questions, ranging from testing and capacity to surge plans and staff health. He also offered a virtual presentation with questions and answers to the Fairfield-Suisun Rotary Club.Chief Medical Officer Seth Kaufman, M.D., prepares to film a video message for www.NorthBay.org with Dan Fowler, senior designer.

For Dr. Khambatta, it was a video message shared on NorthBay.org and social media reassuring patients 65 and older and those with autoimmune diseases or multiple illnesses that they can safely receive medical care at outpatient facilities.

“If you’re due for a health screening, or have a chronic condition that needs follow-up, or you’re not feeling well, it’s important to not delay care and to make an appointment to be seen,” she says in the two-minute video. “If you are a high-risk patient … you may be afraid to return to seeking medical care. This is totally normal.”

She goes on to offer a number of simple suggestions, and reminds patients to wear a mask, wash hands and maintain social distancing.  

Dr. Kaufman, NorthBay’s chief medical officer, discussed testing protocols, flu season, surge planning and more.

He emphasized the steps NorthBay has taken to maintain the safety of patients, staff and visitors including super-cleaning facilities, providing protective equipment and face coverings, restricting visitors in the hospitals and medical offices, screening patients before non-emergency surgeries, caring for COVID-19 patients in an isolated unit, providing testing options and video or telephone visits for patients.

And he explained that NorthBay is well prepared in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“At this time we have enough PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and ventilators and we have very good surge policies in place and have practiced a lot of this,” he said. “We have set up a green, yellow, red warning signal system so we can slowly step up our surge resources if needed.”

Asked about the prevalence of the disease locally, Dr. Kaufman assured viewers that it is lower than other counties but that solid prevalence numbers can’t be known until more widespread testing is done. He added that when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients, “testing is just one piece of the puzzle” and that it has to be looked at in the context of the entire “clinical picture.”

Noting that NorthBay Healthcare has had “very good outcomes” with the COVID-19 patients it has treated, Dr. Kaufman also noted that caregivers have “learned a lot” in regard to what works and what doesn’t, noting that NorthBay has treated patients with Hydroxychloroquine as well as Remdesivir, with good results.

Asked what members of the community can do to help with the fight against the disease, his message was clear: Continue to take steps to prevent the spread, including good hand hygiene, wear a face covering when outside your home and practice social distancing. “It is a community effort to try to keep the epidemic at bay,” he said.

Continue to watch NorthBay's Facebook page (Facebook.com/NorthBayHealthcare) each Thursday for #OurDocTalk with Dr. Kaufman answering questions on various COVID-19 related topics.

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