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Marin Healthcare District Votes to Fund Five COVID-19 Community-Based Projects

$942,000 Awarded to Marin Health and Human Services & MarinHealth

GREENBRAE, CA  Marin Healthcare District announced it has awarded $942,000 to Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and MarinHealth for five special COVID-19 community-based projects. Following a presentation by Dr. Brian Su, Chair of the Marin Healthcare District COVID-19 Task Force at a meeting on May 12, the Marin Healthcare District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the following proposed projects: 

Housing for COVID-19 Positive Patients and High-Risk Staff

Marin HHS conducts contact evaluation by telephone and then isolates people who cannot self-isolate. The isolation occurs through housing in hotels, summer camps, and dormitories. Part of this grant will pay to house the healthcare workers who are COVID-19 positive and other persons under investigation (PUIs) as potential carriers of the virus.

Part of this project funding will also go to help to fund people who have additional risk because of their jobs but are not COVID-19 positive, simply because they live in congregate housing. This is especially problematic for healthcare workers who work in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and then return home to crowded living environments with no ability to isolate.

Pulse Oximetry Test Kits

Pulse oximetry is  an accurate way to know if a confirmed COVID-19 carrier needs hospitalization . A kit with a thermometer, surgical masks, cleaning supplies, and a pulse oximetry kit will be put together and distributed to positive patients through clinics and emergency rooms in Marin. Patients can monitor their own oxygen saturation at home and would report to an emergency room if it falls below a certain level . The patient would return the kit after recovering from COVID-19.

Mobile Testing at Hotspot Locations

 COVID-19 transmission frequently occurs within households and between community members who live in close proximity. Outbreaks in neighborhoods require rapid onsite response. A mobile unit to travel to “hot spots’ where surveillance data shows clusters of cases offers the chance to intervene early and interrupt chains of transmission. The mobile unit can also test the area’s homeless population. Registering patients and following up with those who have positive results and require subsequent medical treatment would be done through health centers and follow-up phone calls.

Mobile Testing Center for Skilled Nursing Facilities

In partnership with Marin HHS, the SNF mobile testing unit will be set into permanency work already being done by MarinHealth. For an entire year, this full-time mobile testing unit will travel to each facility and regularly test all residents and staff at the 10 SNFs, 50 residential care facilities for the elderly, and 2 behavioral health facilities in Marin. In every SNF outbreak, COVID-19 was brought in from the outside by a staff member at the facility. As such, staff will be tested every two weeks. The largest outbreak contained so far by the unit included 80% of residents and staff at one location testing positive for COVID-19. To date, the mobile testing unit has tested 291 people and have found 33 positive patients, some of whom were symptomatic staff.

Income Replacement Fund

Healthcare workers may be unable to quarantine for up to 14 days in the event they test positive simply because they cannot go without pay for 14 days. This project is an income replacement fund for those healthcare workers as an incentive to quarantine if they are positive. It is imperative that these individuals be willing to test and stay home if COVID-19 positive in order to avoid spreading the virus.

“Due to the current environment surrounding COVID-19, we, the board, believe these five projects are actionable and merit immediate funding,” said Dr. Brian Su, Marin Healthcare District Board Director. “Once these projects are operational, the plan is to closely monitor their progress, and immediately course correct as required.”


About Marin Healthcare District

Marin Healthcare District (MHD) owns MarinHealth Medical Center. Located in Greenbrae, MarinHealth Medical Center is the only full-service, acute care hospital in Marin. Established by the State of California in 1946, MHD is responsible for promoting the health and welfare of the residents of Marin County. This includes maintaining county-wide access to care and ensuring that the hospital is in seismic compliance and ready to meet the needs of residents in the event of a natural disaster. MHD serves as a strong advocate for high quality care, provides a forum to discuss health care issues that affect the communities, and provides oversight of major transactions, board appointments and the hospital’s performance goals. Read more about the guiding principles of the Marin Healthcare District.

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