July 10, 2020

Cottage Health Letter to the Community

Dear Community Members,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We appreciate the community’s collective commitment to infection prevention practices.

Unfortunately, the number of positive COVID-19 tests and the number of patients being hospitalized continue to rise. In early June, 1% of the COVID-19 tests performed by Cottage’s Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories tested positive. This week, 6% tested positive. Patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 have increased from four a month ago to 31 today, all cared for in isolation units separate from other patients. We continue to screen all who enter our hospitals and to test every patient being admitted for care. We are now preparing additional units for managing a projected further increase in patients with COVID-19.

Because of these trends, this week we made the difficult decision to revert to visitor restrictions, with just a few limited exceptions for visitors permitted in the hospital. With the growing rate of community transmission, we have an increased urgency to protect our patients, our staff and our capacity for care.

Starting Monday, July 13, we will make another change to keep us prepared. Following advice from medical staff, nursing, and infectious disease leadership, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital will reduce its number of scheduled elective procedures by half. This will assure that we can provide life-saving care for the predicted surge of COVID-positive cases while still safely caring for patients who require emergency and essential care for non-COVID conditions. We are prepared to meet these needs and it is important that you continue to seek medical care when needed.

While Cottage is successfully managing testing for those who require hospitalization and other procedures, access to broader testing is a challenge across our community and throughout the state. Cottage CareNow offers free online COVID assessments to the community, and those with signs and symptoms are referred for testing. Although there is a national shortage of testing supplies, we continue to pursue every option to further increase test capacity for those who meet public health testing criteria.

The best way to protect yourself, our community, and all of our community’s essential workers, is to continue the precautions we have learned: wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, keep the 6-foot distance, and stay home as much as possible. We welcome your feedback and your suggestions. Please email us at cottagehealth@sbch.org.

Thank you once again for your commitment to the health of our community during this challenging time.

Ron Werft
President & CEO
Cottage Health

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