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Sierra View Medical Center Remains Available and Safe for All Medical Emergencies During the Pandemic

Sierra View Medical Center’s (SVMC) Emergency Department (ED), located in Porterville, remains open to serve emergency needs for non-COVID related issues, especially for conditions where early diagnosis and treatment can be lifesaving, such as a stroke or heart attack.

SVMC is well prepared to handle all non-COVID emergencies, as well as COVID-19 cases in a safe environment that limits exposure from other patients and safeguards staff. Dr. Woolery, the ED Site Medical Director shares, “Our Emergency Department remains open, safe and our team of providers are here and available to care for you and your needs 24/7.”

Dr. Woolery answers questions for the public, including whether the ED is safe during the pandemic for non-COVID-19 patients and what safety precautions SVMC is taking in this short video: Q & A with Dr. Johnathan Woolery

The growing concern is that residents in the community may ignore early warnings signs and postpone a trip to the ED in fear of being exposed to the coronavirus. While SVMC is treating COVID-19 patients, ensuring safe access for everyone to emergency medical and nursing care continues to be a top priority.

“There has been an entire re-structure and strict protocols that comply with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines that have been put into place to control potential spread of the coronavirus,” said Kevin Dooms, SVMC Emergency Department RN Interim Clinical Manager. “Examples of these safety measures include a screening process that is done in a tented area before anyone enters the ED. Additionally, the SVMC engineering team created anterooms so that there is never direct access between a COVID-19 patient area and the remainder of the ED. Additionally, the waiting areas have been reconfigured to maintain the CDC recommended social distancing requirement of 6ft distance.”

In alignment with SVMC, NES Health, a physician and management staffing group made up of individual licensed providers, remain proactive and diligently focused on deploying best practices, protocols and real time updates from the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). These best practices deployed by both SVMC and NES Health keep the SVMC ED in accordance with all state, local and federal guidelines.

NES Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steven Wexler comments on his concern in seeing decreased ED visits. “What we are seeing across the country is a 50% decrease in ER visits. We are concerned that people are waiting at home too long for their emergencies, especially when if we are talking about chest pain and stroke.” He adds, “The partnership of SVMC with NES Health took steps very early on in the crisis to ensure the ED was set up to keep staff and patients safe. A step that NES Health has taken at its facilities across the nation.

Sierra View wants the community of Porterville to know that they are here, open, and can take care of any emergency no matter how small or big in a safe environment.

Signs or symptoms of medical emergencies should not be ignored. Those experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke, such as chest pain or sudden muscle weakness, should call 911 or visit the emergency department immediately. SVMC wants to ensure the community and residents of surrounding areas to not let the fear of COVID-19 stall immediate medical attention.