By Alice Issai
President, Adventist Health Glendale
This year has brought so many challenges — to our organization, our community and each of us individually. Now, as we embark on a holiday season during a global pandemic, my thoughts immediately turn to our front-line workers and the many community members for whom comfort and joy will be difficult to find.
As with other medical centers, Adventist Health Glendale is seeing a steady climb in the number of patients with COVID-19. State and county officials, fearful of mass spreading, have curtailed activities, instituted curfews and pleaded with the public to heed public health experts’ calls to wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands — still the best line of defense against contracting the coronavirus.
And yet, true to the season’s essence, there is hope.
At least two vaccines are near approval for distribution, both with efficacy above 95%. These vaccines offer tremendous promise and still others are in late-stage testing that could bolster the available supply. Adventist Health Glendale is already prepared to receive these vaccines and serve as a center for community distribution. When the vaccines are in place and public health officials announce distribution priorities, we will do outreach to the community to begin administering the vaccines.
At the same time, we are prepared for the surge of COVID patients we are seeing today. Early in the pandemic, we formed a committee comprising pulmonologists, immunologists, intensivists, emergency medicine, pharmacy and other experts to review our COVID patients’ conditions and treatment plans. We secured ample supplies of protective equipment to safeguard our care providers. We acquired additional equipment and set up unoccupied areas of the hospital so that we could quickly expand to meet any demands.
To date, we have had no trouble meeting that demand; the next couple of weeks as people return from Thanksgiving gatherings will be telling, but I remain confident in our capacity to care for the most critical patients here. But please help us by adhering to Centers for Disease Control guidelines for masking, washing hands and socially distancing.
I’m also confident that we are safe and ready to receive patients who are not touched by COVID. We have isolated our COVID treatment areas, which enables us to remain open to ongoing and preventive care in other areas of the hospital. Our community urgent care clinics remain open and our emergency room has processes in place to receive both COVID and non-COVID patients safely. I cannot stress this enough: If you have a medical need, please do not delay seeking care.
Finally, I want to publicly thank our hospital heroes: physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and other caregivers as well as the many hundreds of people who support nonclinical work, including our housekeepers, engineers, food service associates, transporters and so many more. This entire team has been working tirelessly since February. I invite you to take a moment and consider the many families whose loved ones are with them today due to the efforts of our providers. Health, wholeness and hope are incredible gifts to give, and I know those patients and their families are grateful to have these gifts delivered by our incredible team.
Please remain vigilant with masking, washing hands and socially distancing through the holiday season. With your help, 2021 will truly be a happy new year.
Alice Issai is president of Adventist Health Glendale.