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Caring for Our Most Vulnerable – Bold Actions in Midst of Pandemic

San Bernardino County, CA
Program Year: 2021

San Bernardino County, the largest county geographically in the contiguous United States, is home to nearly 200 Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), Congregate Living Facilities, and Intermediate Care facilities. The rapid emergence of COVID-19 resulted in the need to take new, bold, and decisive action to mitigate the devastating effects of the pandemic on skilled nursing home residents and staff. Based on a combination of situational awareness and a recommendation from the San Bernardino County Incident Management Team, the County recognized the extraordinary vulnerability of this population and the potentially high mortality that would result from an outbreak. Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA), the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), the Department of Aging and Adult Services–Public Guardian (DAAS-PG) and the County Administrative Office (CAO) came together, to respond to this challenge. This countywide group quickly formed a SNF Task Force and then Skilled Nursing Facility Outreach + Support teams consisting primarily of ARMC, DPH, DBH and ICEMA staff to meet the emerging needs. The goal was to prevent a catastrophic failure – resident evacuation – a condition that happened in other counties and can have a high rate of mortality. SO+S teams fanned out across the large county to provide needed resources. The goal of no evacuations was achieved as were other benefits.

Justine Rodriguez
Public Information Officer