Delivered to the County Board of Supervisors

The problem from a public health viewpoint

Authored by: Mohinder Mann, Annie Dandavati, Ed Vasquez and Ben Menor

In any natural disaster, medical services are not always coordinated on a county-wide or State-wide basis. Santa Clara County needs to address this issue before it becomes a major problem.

The lack of coordinated efforts is leading to some hospitals having an abundance of medical supplies while other hospitals scramble to find life-saving resources, such as masks and PPE. This is affecting the quality of medical care for patients and endangering the lives of medical professionals on the front lines. New York gives us a look at the future and the critical need for coordinated efforts.

On the same weekend that Facebook donated 720,000 masks, medical professionals taking care of acute COVID-19 positive patients at O’Connor Hospital ran out of masks. They were unsure how to procure masks from this Facebook donation, or the subsequent donation of 50,000 masks by Tesla. On the same weekend, UCSF also put out a call for masks.

There is an urgent need for all Santa Clara County and Bay Area medical institutions to be communicating on a real-time basis. They need to know where the supplies are, who can help fill an immediate need, and eventually coordinate finite resources such as ICU and hospital bed space. There is also a need for ongoing community education. Doctors have the credibility to deliver a message and for the public to positively respond.

Another issue of critical importance that needs to be addressed by the County government, is the hoarding of essential supplies and price gouging of the same. There is evidence of this locally as well as nationally. The issue was addressed by Attorney General Barr in the Presidential press conference held March 23rd, 2020. Similarly our County government must take a strong position including a message that such unscrupulous individuals and conduct will be answerable to the District Attorney's office with severe consequences for them.

Propose a special Santa Clara County Public Health Task Force

The proposed Task Force requires a local medical professional with an extensive list of contacts along with the experience of working and volunteering in some of the world’s largest natural disasters. The individual must be committed to using her or his connections to build a task force inclusive of all Santa Clara County hospitals and medical professionals.

Immediate Goals

  • Contact all hospitals and medical professionals, inviting them to become part of the task force and to participate in the sharing of information and resources.
  • Identify medical resources and develop a system for all hospitals and medical professionals to immediately tap into such resources, so that patient care is unaffected and medical professional safety is not compromised.
  • Educate the public through the news media.

Resources required

Besides 100% support of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, department heads and employees, the task force will need some existing resources (TBD) to help achieve the aforementioned goals.

Time is of the essence. Lives can be saved by acting quickly. Lives can be lost by delaying action.

Our ask is not much different than the approach endorsed by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took executive action.

Stay Informed. Join Us.

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