Three major San Bernardino County institutions -- the Department of Public Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center -- have joined forces to create a specialized team of medical experts to assist caregivers at skilled nursing facilities throughout the county.

The Skilled Nursing Facility and Outreach Support Team, or SO+S, is part of a countywide multi-department task force organized to provide expertise and training to caregivers working with patients at particular risk from COVID-19 — namely, the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.

“Nationally and locally, patients in skilled nursing homes and other assisted living facilities have been among those most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Curt Hagman, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “In response, we are devoting considerable effort and resources to assist these facilities and offer further protection to the County’s most vulnerable residents.”

Emergency medicine physician assistants and mental health staff have already begun traveling to facilities throughout the county to conduct assessments of facility operations and provide equipment and training. The following are among the team’s top priorities:

• Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to facilities, along with training on how best to use and maintain the equipment;

• Evaluate operations, including potential supply chain and operational concerns;

• Provide up-to-date information on COVID-19 containment best practices;

• Share tips for streamlining resource-ordering procedures; and

• Establish and share guidelines for segmenting C-19 positive patients and patients under investigation.

For more information, call (909) 387-3911. Persons who manage a skilled nursing facility and would like to schedule a site visit can contact Christian Barragan at (909) 677-6533 or barraganC@armc.sbcounty.gov.

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