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Award Winning Salinas Valley Health Respiratory Care Therapists Respond to Recognition With Public Plea this Holiday Season

Award Winning Salinas Valley Health Respiratory Care Therapists Respond to Recognition With Public Plea this Holiday Season

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Respiratory care therapists at Salinas Valley Health play a key role in treating COVID-19 patients and the department has received the California Society Respiratory Care Department of Excellence award for the greater Bay Area Region.

Salinas Valley Health earned the recognition after an intense review of submissions from across the state. The excellence award reflects the skill and dedication of respiratory care therapists at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center. The Society specifically noted Salinas Valley Health’s dedication to community involvement. Salinas Valley Health has about 40 respiratory therapists at the medical center and they took the opportunity today to ask the community to now support them and other medical center staff during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is a deadly virus and we see the suffering it causes every day,” said Katlen Braga, respiratory care practitioner. “The best way to honor healthcare workers and the skills we provide during this challenging time is to wear your mask.”

In a video address to the community later this week, Pete Delgado, Salinas Valley Health President/CEO cites the sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 positive patients countywide and the alarming increase of people being hospitalized with severe symptoms. “Earlier this week, we had more than 30 inpatients at our medical center, says Delgado. “That is the highest number since mid-summer. With the holidays coming up, we need to be especially cautious.”

The theoretical and practical training for respiratory therapists or RT’s focuses on managing a ventilator, making changes based on the patient’s lab results, and continuously utilizing their assessment skills to determine necessary changes for optimal patient outcomes. Patients with COVID-19 struggle with getting enough oxygen, due to severe lung damage. The pulmonologists work closely with the RT staff to deliver the best interventions for these patients.

“We know families want to gather for the holidays,” says Salinas Valley Health respiratory therapist Luis Hernandez. “But it’s not worth the risk. Even people who test negative for the virus can spread it. If people could see the pain we see, they would wait to have big family gatherings until it’s safer.”

“In the spirit of the holidays, we’ll get through this tough time by looking out for each other,” said Delgado. “And with the recent good news of effective vaccines on the way, we can look forward to making progress in early 2021.”

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