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Mountain News

50¢ 100th Year, No. 2

The Voice of Crestline, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs

April 2, 2020

Local Hospital Prepares for a Surge in COVID-19 Patients

Medical Pods Set Up to Treat Patients at the Parking Lot STORY AND PHOTOS BY ANGELA YAP

On March 31, the officials of Mountains Community Hospital including Terry Peña, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Nursing Officer, Renee Limpus, Disaster Coordinator, Charlie Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, and Kim McGuire, Director of Community Development held a local press conference and tour providing the latest COVID-19 preparedness information and emergency guidelines for residents of the mountain communities. As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Mountains Community Hospital is bracing for an influx of people infected with COVID-19, has set up two pods with portable beds and needed medical equipment to treat overflow patients. Each pod houses 4 beds and essential medical equipment powered by a portable generator. The pod looks like a commercial container. Both pods offer a total of eight beds and are placed right in front of the hospital parking lot. “Patients experiencing the primary symptoms of fever, dry cough, and respiratory issues, will be screened prior to coming into a treatment area,” said Terry Peña, Chief Operating/Nursing Officer. “You must call our hotline at (909) 436-3113 upon arrival, at which time an MCH staff member will meet you at your vehicle and determine the treatment and assessment area most appropriate for your condition.” COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Hence it is important to separate patients with COVID-19 symptoms from patients without COVID-19 symptoms who require medical care. “Even inside the ED, we want to isolate possible COVID-19 patients from others,” said Peña. “All five beds have been separated with individual plastic walls.” Experts estimate that about 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have mild symptoms, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that these patients to stay at home, isolating themselves from others. With a limited 17-bed inpatient capacity, Peña said,

Renee Limpus, Disaster Coordinator, Terry Peña, Chief Operating/Nursing Officer and Charlie Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of MCH provide COVID-19 preparedness plan and how these mobile pods will be utilized in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 Cases. “Hospital beds would be reserved for seriously ill patients. We have built a barrier off the med-surg unit for critically ill patients with respiratory problems.” “We are in a fluid situation,” added Renee Limpus, Disaster Coordinator. “These pods are set up in anticipation of an increase patient visits beyond the current capacity of our ER. In this way, patients without COVID-19 symptoms but who also need medical attention can be seen in these pods.” The MCH team emphasized that each move and set up is in a fluid situation, and can change based on the community needs. “Right now we have two patients in the hospital who are highly suspected of COVID-19,” said Peña who is waiting for the test results. “We encourage people to cancel all elective, non-emergency visits during this time.”

“Right now, we don’t have enough medical gowns. We have a decent amount of face masks, and we are expecting some face shields to be delivered to our staff. “ “We want people to know that the Rural Health Clinic can provide screening and nurse advice over the phone. You may access this advice by calling (909) 336-9715.” Charlie Harrison stressed the importance of calling the hospital IN ADVANCE for all ER visits. In summary, the MCH wants the community to follow these guidelines: 1. If you are experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms, call your Primary Care Physician immediately to receive instructions. If you do not have a Primary Care Physician, please call our Rural Health Clinic at (909) 336-9715.

PODS/A3

Water Shutoffs? Crestline Village Says Not to Worry

BY ZEV BLUMENFELD Reporter

Pink door hangers dangled from some Crestline homes on Friday, March 27. The hangers served to notify Crestline Village Water District customers of a water shutoff unless their delinquent bills were paid. To many residents, this may come as a shock since water districts across the nation have committed to halting water shutoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the district’s office manager Larrie Davis said taps will remain flowing even for delinquent accounts. “The notices were hung as more of a reminder to people that they still owe us money and that they’re delinquent. These are bills that would have been due on February 1,” Davis said. As state and county leaders discuss COVID-19 relief measures — including the suspension of utility shutoffs — the water district fears some customers may interpret these actions as an exemption from payment. This is not the case. “We could be looking at customers with four and five months of water owed and no payments made, which puts them in a difficult position come June or July,” Davis continued. She encouraged those needing to delay payment to call the district office. “If they’re telling us that they’ve been laid off — or they’re currently self-isolating or not working — we just make a note of that,” she said. “We’re encouraging them to call and pay what they’re able to pay.” Though the Crestline Village Water District is not a public utility, Davis stressed that she thinks it is fair to follow the state and county COVID-19 guidelines.

Crestline Village Water District is granting extensions on customer water bills.

With Libraries Closed, A Local Bookstore Steps Up

BY ZEV BLUMENFELD Reporter

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries and schools are closed. Movie theaters and shopping centers have gone dark. Outdoor activity is restricted. But parents who are finding themselves at wits’ end — as they stay at home, hunkered down with stir-crazy children — may be in for a break. Print and Page Booksellers, a bookstore in Crestline, is supplying, shipping and delivering used books to children in the mountain communities — and they’re doing it for free. “We were just dropping books at the door, knocking and kinda like skittering away,” said owner Devina Horvath as she laughed about the delivery process. “We were calling it ding-dong-ditch.” Horvath and her husband Eric Vincent own and operate Print and Page Booksellers. After relocating from Corona, CA, the bookstore had its soft opening on Feb. 29, less than three weeks before Governor Newson’s “shelter-in-place” declaration. But while COVID-19 has put a damper on their daily operation, Print and Page is continuing its mission of promoting youth literacy. Horvath encouraged parents interested in ordering a free book for their child to complete a form on the bookstore’s website. Parents may request a particular title or a book specific to their child’s grade, reading level and interest. If a specific title is not requested, Horvath and Vincent will search through their collection of over an estimated 30,000 books. “We had somebody request a book for their first-grader who reads at a fourth-grade level and he really likes marine biology. So we sent him over a nonfiction book about seashells and marine creatures,” Horvath said. She hopes the service will give kids a mental escape from the isolation they may be experiencing during the COVID-19 shutdowns, while also continuing to sharpen critical BOOKS/A3

Eric Vincent (left) and Devina Horvath (right) are delivering books to children during the COVID-19 shutdown.