There has been an understandable focus out of 2020 and with it, the hope of leaving behind the stresses 2020 brought in this new year. Unfortunately, not everything follows such neat patterns of time and as January has progressed, so too has the continued spread of COVID-19. As of Friday, Jan. 15, Sharp Coronado Hospital has been experiencing full capacity of its ICU (intensive care unit), a trend across hospitals in San Diego County.

I spoke with Sharp Coronado CEO and Senior Vice President Sharp HealthCare Hospital Laboratory Services, Susan Stone, said, “Our ICU has been full for weeks. We’ve actually moved the ICU location to the fourth floor to accommodate more patients.”

According to Stone, the typical number of ICU patients Sharp Hospital would have in a given day is about three, and currently they have 17 patients, 14 of which have tested positive for COVID-19. Right now all hospitals in San Diego are being saturated with patients. “The ambulances have a rotation,” Stone explained, “and if all hospitals are on bypass then we receive all ambulance patients right now and we take anybody who comes through our doors. We’re all just trying to help each other.”

As to what the community can do to help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 is to stay vigilant with recommended best practices during this pandemic into this new year. “We just want to reiterate that following the public health and safety orders is so important right now,” Stone said. “Wear a mask, remain social distanced, observe good hand hygiene practices, avoid congregating in crowds, and get a vaccine when you’re able to.”

As Sharp Coronado Hospital has recently started vaccinations at the Community Center in town, I took a moment to speak with Stone about how that rollout worked. “The clinic is going well so far,” she told me on a happier note. “We started last week with 250 vaccinations a day which has allowed us to work out a few kinks.”

The clinic is now moving to 500 vaccinations a day with a goal to reach 1,000 a day as they become more available to wider groups of the public. “We want to work out the progression with enough time to make sure it’s right and is a smooth process for everyone,” Stone said.

As of right now, anyone that falls in the Phase 1A tier can schedule an appointment for a vaccine at the site in Coronado. Appointments are made online at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/vaccines/COVID-19-VaxEvents.html#coronadoInstructions and more information about each tier can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/.

According to Stone, “You will receive an email after making an appointment at the county website (where eligibility is listed), and once you prove you have an appointment at the clinic in Coronado and staff verifies your photo ID, you’re good to go.” Along with your confirmation email, staff and volunteers at the clinic have access to a live feed into the appointment system to be able to verify appointments and check off your first dose of the vaccine.

“We want to express our gratitude to the City of Coronado for donating the location [of the Community Center] at no cost and the generosity of the firefighters who are helping to vaccinate,” Stone added. “We want to thank the Chamber for helping, and the Rotary, Optimist, and Soroptimist Clubs for all volunteering their time. I’m calling this a humanitarian mission, and all of Coronado has been coming out to help.”

For more information on Sharp Coronado and the COVID-19 virus and vaccine, visit https://www.sharp.com/coronavirus/.

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