With an additional 143 Santa Clarita coronavirus cases reported on Friday for a total of 10,126 cumulative cases since March, Henry Mayo Hospital has refined its services to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within its hospital walls. 

As COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County beat the prior one-day record by over 1,000 cases on Friday, Henry Mayo officials are confident in their ability to safely treat coronavirus patients while proceeding with elective patient surgeries. 

Extra precautions are taken to separate COVID-19 patients and incoming surgery patients.

With United States hospitals losing between 30 percent to 55 percent of elective patient volume since March, it was evident that fear of the coronavirus decreased the demand for elective procedures. 

“Because of the high amount of coronavirus cases in Santa Clarita during July, I was already incredibly wary of attending my annual checkup, but little did I know that I would be diagnosed with cancer during that visit,” Santa Clarita resident Bret Matta said. “It took me two months to even decide if I wanted the surgery because I was so anxious of catching COVID, but once I saw the hospital’s strict protocols in regards to the pandemic, I felt safe enough to go ahead with treatment.”

Social distancing signs are posted on each table in front of the hospital entrance. 

While cancer and other diseases cease to take a break during the pandemic, Henry Mayo has adapted to extensive criteria imposed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to limit coronavirus transmission in medical clinics. 

“All elective surgery patients are tested for COVID before their surgeries,” said Patrick Moody, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Henry Mayo. “After their COVID tests, and prior to their surgeries, they are asked to self-isolate.  Any other precautions specific to their surgery should be discussed with their surgeon.”

Self-isolating prior to surgery helps develop units free of COVID-19, so patients can recover from surgery without the risk of catching the coronavirus.

“Before I went into the hospital, I had to test negative for the coronavirus and then quarantine for five days, going as far to wear my mask inside my house the entire time,” said Matta. “If I ended up testing positive, they would have cancelled the surgery and the longer you wait when you have prostate cancer, it could spread, which could have had a longer-lasting impact on how I live.”

Everyone entering the medical care center has to wear a mask.

Taking precaution to even be allowed into the operating room, Matta identified further safety measures upon entering the hospital on the day of his surgery, ranging from nurses switching out gloves constantly to assistants escorting patients throughout their entire stay. 

“The hospital is very different from normal times where I’ve been in the hospital. Normally you see a lot of people, but there was nobody around. COVID-19 patients were tucked away in their own part of the hospital and absolutely no visitors were allowed,” described Matta. “Once I got in there and I saw how they were treating it, I felt incredibly safe because they were really keeping people apart and everyone was masked and gloved up.”

An empty visitor parking lot due to the strict no visit policy amid the pandemic. 

Through the insistence of health code compliance by Los Angeles County, Henry Mayo has utilized all possible measures to maintain safety within their units to simultaneously care for patients and do their part in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

“The safety of our patients is a priority. It always has been from the beginning of the pandemic to the present time,” said Louie Marc Contreras, Department of Surgery Chair at Henry Mayo. “We want all patients to know that you are safe in our care at Henry Mayo.”

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