Who knew a bunch of preteen boys and girls would wake up early on a Saturday or Sunday excited to go get a shot?
This past weekend, nearly 1,200 of them did, and their families brought them to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital to get their first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. The hospital administered another 850 doses this week.
The Assistance League of Flintridge’s auxiliary, Cañada Auxiliary of Professionals (CAP), have provided meals to frontline workers at USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital on four occasions this year.
After having provided meals to USC-VHH in the spring of 2020, CAP member Astrid Soegaard suggested a second round of meals be provided. CAP membership unanimously supported this proposal.
The project was coordinated through the website Meal Train Plus, which was established to support COVID-19 front-line workers at USC-VHH.
Local businesses Penelope’s, Gelsinger’s and Stella’s were enthusiastic participants in the philanthropic project, providing lunches and dinners.
CAP members participate in five philanthropic programs: Scholarships, Cappy Bears, SPROUTS, and CAP Care PACs, and work with Assistance League of Flintridge in Operation School Bell. CAP philanthropies are supported by sales in the Bargain Box thrift shop, which includes toy sales.
To learn more about Cañada Auxiliary of Professionals, CAP philanthropic programs, social activities and membership, visit ALFlintridge.org or call (818) 790-1328.
Three women at Glendale hospitals were recognized this week by the Los Angeles Business Journal as being among its “Women of Influence” in health care. The publication named Alice Issai, president of Adventist Health Glendale, Theresa Murphy, chief nursing officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, and Mary Virgallito, associate administrator of quality and patient safety at USC-VHH, among the 40 total honorees. For its list, the Business Journal said it identified “particularly stellar health industry stewards” in the L.A. region, whose leadership shined throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “The health care leaders were chosen by the Los Angeles Business Journal to be recognized for exceptional stewardship and achievement across the full spectrum of responsibility, exemplary leadership as evidenced by the highest professional and ethical standards, and for contributions to the health and wellbeing of the Los Angeles community at large,” the Business Journal wrote. Issai was recognized for leading Adventist Health through numerous advancements throughout the past several years, including the development of a structural heart program, growth of a number of surgical sub-specialties and the expansion of primary care physicians and specialists at the institution. The Business Journal also noted that the hospital was named among California’s top 5% by the U.S. News & World Report and was among five South California hospitals awarded a five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Murphy was lauded for her continued advocacy for improvements to nurse working culture, having helped implement updated work practices for the pandemic and also support services to combat burnout among USC-VHH’s nursing staff. She is chair of the Hospital Association of Southern California’s Nursing Advisory Committee, where she has also developed and led sessions addressing staff burnout and crisis response. Virgallito was heralded for her quick response at the start of the pandemic to establish new infection prevention protocols that helped reserve the limited supply of personal protective equipment by making use of remote technology and no-touch cleaning. She was the statewide representative for California chapters of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology to the state Department of Public Health’s Healthcare Acquired Infections Advisory Committee.
He left the actual destruction to the professionals, but Rod Hanners, the interim CEO of Keck Medicine of USC, officially broke ground — er, wall — Thursday last week on what will be a new IR cath lab at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. Before taking the ceremonial swing with a sledgehammer, Hanners touted the IR cath lab — short form for interventional radiology catheterization laboratory — as being a game-changing addition to the Glendale-based hospital’s ability to treat cardiovascular issues. To say the least, it’s an important ability to have — cardiovascular diseases are the top cause of death worldwide, killing nearly 18 million annually according to the World Health Organization.
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and other institutions will begin vaccinating area elementary school teachers for COVID-19 next week, including Glendale Unified School District teachers who choose to sign up for the inoculation. The hospital will take 350 teachers on Monday and another 350 on Thursday and aims to continue its vaccination work with additional teachers and members of the community, as eligibility increases. The concrete plan is a welcome development weeks after the initial rollout for vaccinating teachers was delayed because of supply issues. Additionally, Adventist Health Glendale and Glendale Memorial Hospital also will be handling vaccinations for GUSD teachers.
Daily new cases of COVID-19 in Glendale have been falling throughout 2021, and while they still are not at the lower levels seen before the holiday season surge, it is still a marked improvement from the crisis that overwhelmed Southern California’s health care system. As of the News-Press’ deadline this week, the city had a seven-day average of 76 new cases per day, the lowest amount since the seven-day average of 72 posted on Nov. 28. This comes weeks after the city peaked on Jan. 14 with an astronomical seven-day average of 247 daily new cases of the coronavirus.
Floral designer Jeff Leatham and celebrity Kim Kardashian West on Tuesday sent 70 bouquets of pink roses to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital as a gesture of appreciation to the institution’s frontline health care workers ahead of Valentine’s Day. Keith Hobbs, CEO of the hospital, said “these kind gestures mean so much to our health care workers who have been working tirelessly these many months, and the appreciation from the community goes a long way to uplift them through these difficult times.” USC-VHH invites those who are also interested in giving back to the hospital to consider volunteering for its Meal Train, which can be found at bit.ly/uscvhhmeals.
As vaccines for the coronavirus are gradually made available to more and more members of the public, researchers and medical professionals want people to prepare for what it means to be vaccinated and what to expect when getting the key second dose. Understanding those details will be crucial to finally turning the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, when we can transition back to a relatively normal state of affairs. For that to happen, the large majority of the population will likely need to be inoculated. “The only way we’re going to get out of the situation with COVID-19 is an aggressive vaccine campaign, but I think because of the speed with which the vaccine was developed and also some political turmoil, there are some doubts about the efficacy of the vaccine,” explained Dr. Nicholas Testa, the divisional chief medical officer of Dignity Health’s Southern California Division. “To get to this idea of herd immunity, the number that they’re looking at is having somewhere between 70 and 90% of the population being vaccinated.”
Nursing students from Glendale Community College recently helped to vaccinate health care workers at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital against COVID-19 as part of their clinical hours. The Care Extender Clinical Experience provides opportunities for nursing students to experience health care from a clinical perspective, through patient contact and collaboration with the patient care team. USC-VHH CEO Keith Hobbs said this allowed the hospital’s nurses and other front-line staff to remain at their positions instead of having to give the vaccines themselves, and he hoped to use GCC nursing students again as vaccinations continue to open up to the public.
A sudden emphasis on extending COVID-19 vaccination opportunities to residents 65 and older in Los Angeles County may alter plans for a local hospital to begin inoculating Glendale Unified School District educators. Nothing is set in stone, and the likelihood of further changes will probably grow as President Joe Biden’s administration settles in during the coming weeks. For now, however, the plan for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital to begin vaccinating GUSD employees against the virus starting on Jan. 30 has been paused. In an era of fast-breaking news, this change of plans came 24 hours after the GUSD Board of Education was briefed on the rollout. “As with everything with COVID, there have been so many twists and turns,” said Mary Virgallito, associate administrator for quality and patient safety at USC-VHH, in an interview Thursday. “We’re just awaiting further guidance. We’ve done everything we can, including submitting a plan, so until the county activates us, we’re on standby.”