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GALLUP SUN STAR RMCHCS implements plans for treating COVID-19

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Coordinating with GIMC-HIS, NM Department of Health,

Center for Disease Control

Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services is monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus with an eye on McKinley County and the rest of New Mexico. It is also watching adjacent states as it prepares to care for residents should the virus spread to the area. The hospital is also closely coordinating its plans with the New Mexico Department of Health, the Gallup Indian Medical Center-Indian Health Service and the Center for Disease Control.

“Our efforts are primarily focused on five specific areas,” RMCHCS CEO David Conejo said. “Testing anyone showing symptoms, providing adequate care for infected residents, preparing hospital staff with infection control related practices, updating the community through our website and sharing information with local and state medical officials.”

The coordinator for the coronavirus at RMCHCS is Dr. Christopher Gonzaga, an Infectious Disease Specialist, along with the hospital’s Infection Control Team.

RMCHCS Preparations

Plans by the hospital include weekly meetings to ensure adherence to state and national guidelines, monitoring of supplies such as personal protective equipment, respiratory equipment and masks for medical staff and patients suspected to have the virus, sanitation supplies for hand washing and normal hospital disinfectant solutions. There are also four respiratory airborne precaution isolation rooms at RMCH for people who contract the coronavirus to prevent their infections from spreading through the hospital.

RMCHCS will only allow two adults who have been screened by the hospital to visit patients. The hospital has also created a dedicated waiting area for those with respiratory symptoms in the emergency department and in its satellite clinics Red Rock, Urgent Care, and College Clinic. The hospital urges those who believe they have the coronavirus to call ahead so it can plan a safe entrance that minimizes the exposure to others.

A plan is being developed to set-up a coronavirus hotline to answer residents’ questions or report any cases so those with symptoms can be tested and isolated, if recommended. Residents will be able to call a hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The RMCHCS website will offer updates on this and other coronavirus updates. In the meantime, it would be best for patients to call their medical providers for questions or refer to the CDC and NMDOH websites: cdc,gov/COVID19



What To Do If You Are Quarantined At Home

If you are asked to quarantine at home, a charge nurse will call to get updates on your condition each morning. Turnaround time for coronavirus test results is 24-48 hours. If you haven’t heard from RMCHCS by noon each day, call the COVID triage (505) 236-1874.

If you feel worse, develop shortness of breath, or are concerned your symptoms are becoming more serious, call RMCHCS right away.

By William Madaras
For the Sun