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29 with COVID-19 now in hospitals within SJ County
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There is a concern that San Joaquin County residents are delaying medical care by heeding stay at home orders “too successfully.”

That concern was contained in a message to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday from San Joaquin County EMS Medical Director Dr. Katherine Shafer prompted by significant drops in patients accessing hospital emergency rooms as well as physicians.

The message came on a day when the six hospitals in the county had a combined 29 COVID-19 patients of which 17 were in intensive care. Overall confirmed coronavirus cases as of 5 p.m. Tuesday in the county were at 456 with deaths to date at 20.

Shafer noted people should never delay seeking medical attention when experiencing signs of a stroke, heart attack, or respiratory difficulty. She wanted to make sure all residents know that hospitals and physicians are ready and available to meet the needs of patients requiring medical care and encouraged people to call their doctor for urgent medical issues and seek help through the emergency department or 911 EMS system for serious or potentially life threatening emergencies.  

Officials reported all hospitals have adequate N-95 respirators and protection gear available for use by medical staff. Simple procedure masks as well as surgical masks remain in short supply and in high demand among medical providers.

San Joaquin County Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park provided supervisors an overview of several high-profile national studies to further guide how the County could gradually reopen. She said the County will closely follow State guidance by Governor Gavin Newsom to make that determination which includes the six objective measures that the State will follow to start reopening parts of the economy and relaxing mitigation strategies.

Park said she is also reviewing correspondence and documentation from the business community to consider reopening certain industries and helping prepare safety protocols for businesses to reopen once restrictions are lifted.

San Joaquin County Public Health Services is also is working on a COVID-19 dashboard that will be launched on their website. It will have a wide variety of information including the number of cases by Supervisorial district along with the number of hospitalizations, deaths, outbreaks and other relevant data.  

The Board of Supervisors retroactively adopted a resolution authorizing the San Joaquin County Department of Veteran Services to temporarily close the County Veterans Services Office to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to remotely provide essential services effective March 23. All essential services that are provided by the department such as assisting veterans in applying for and receiving benefits, providing information to veterans and their families, and providing follow-up calls related to claims and benefits advocacy will continue and are being provided remotely by email, fax, phone, and electronic submission. There have been no changes to Veterans Affairs Healthcare services other than group therapy (now being provided via telephone or Skype) and tours. Routine healthcare appointments are provided via secure messaging and telemedicine.