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Monterey County Hospitals Respond to Omicron Variant Surge

Monterey County Hospitals Respond to Omicron Variant Surge

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Monterey County hospitals face a dual threat during this significant surge in Omicron cases: the number of COVID-19 patients is increasing and area hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages as illness from COVID-19 is impacting hospital personnel and their families. Today, Salinas Valley Health has 22 patients, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula has 21 patients, Natividad has 16 patients, and Mee Memorial Healthcare System has no COVID-19 patients.

In light of the Omicron variant surge, the hospitals are united in implementing evidence-based policies and procedures to best protect staff and the public from this highly transmissible variant. All four county hospitals are currently taking the following measures to further protect patients and staff and to ensure adequate staffing levels:

Patient Visitation
The hospitals are reviewing and modifying their visitation policies as needed to further protect patients, staff, visitors, and the community. Depending on the facility, visitation is limited and varies by institution and department of care. All Monterey County hospital emergency departments are prohibiting all visitors, with exceptions for a parent or guardian of a minor under the age of 18 or a caregiver or support person for patients with physical, intellectual, cognitive impairment and/or developmental disabilities. Community members wishing to visit a loved-one in the hospital should check the hospital website for the current visitation policy.

Healthcare Vaccine Booster and Testing Requirements for Staff
The state has mandated all healthcare workers in California who are eligible for the booster shot, receive it by February 1. All of our Monterey County hospitals support this state mandate and are working with employees to ensure compliance by the deadline.

Surgery Schedules
Similar to surgery schedule modifications during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are evaluating their capacity for conducting a full surgery schedule and may reschedule non-time-sensitive procedures.

Emergency Department Visits
During this COVID-19 surge, continue to call 911 or seek emergency care in the event of a medical emergency such as severe injury, difficulty breathing, chest pain and altered levels of consciousness. For those with mild symptoms of COVID-19, or no symptoms, community members should not seek emergency care. Instead, people should recover from their illness at home and seek care through their primary care doctor. Symptoms may include a sore throat, fever, runny nose, body aches, and cough. Severe COVID-19 symptoms that require emergency care include chest pain, difficulty breathing, weakness and a fever for several days.

Reduce Risk of COVID-19 Infections and Hospitalizations
Healthcare leaders urge the community to join efforts to keep hospitalizations down due to COVID-19. We encourage our community to implement all the measures they can to keep our community safe and our hospitals from becoming inundated with COVID-19 patients:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster vaccine if you are eligible
  • When you are sick, get tested, stay home, and isolate from others. Do not seek testing at an emergency department
  • If you test positive, isolate, and let your close contacts who were potentially exposed know
  • Wear a mask when around others outside your household
  • Maintain social distance from others outside your household
  • If you must gather, please do so outside and follow social-distancing practices

Monterey County hospitals appreciate the public’s support and understanding as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide care for those in need of medical attention. Please check individual websites for specific information on each hospital’s policies and for helpful resources the community can access, including where to get a test and a booster vaccine.

Helpful resources
Montage Health:
Salinas Valley Health
Mee Memorial:
Monterey County Health Department:

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