Pictured: The Emergency Room Entrance at Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

A written statement obtained by the VCReporter dated Sunday, March 22, from Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) to staff confirms a total of three doctors have tested positive for COVID-19. One had been reported to the public last week.

“Three of our physicians have been identified as being tested positive for COVID-19 and are staying home,” the email message states. “Many of our meetings have been postponed, practicing social distancing, or are being conducted virtually. Invites to the meetings will be sent out by the Medical Staff Office and the invitation will clarify if the meeting can be attended virtually.”

On Monday, March 23, Dr. Robert Levin, health officer with Ventura County Public Health (VCPH), confirmed that he was aware of the two additional doctors that tested positive. 

Levin said that when a person tests positive, information reported to VCPH includes occupation and those with whom the person has recently been in contact. Based on national, state and county recommendations, all meetings that need to take place should be “changed” to take place “over the phone.” He emphasized the importance of people staying home.

Levin also confirmed that there are issues locally with obtaining enough protective gear for all hospital staff. Right now there is a “problem” obtaining “all the gowns that we need.”

One CMH medical provider who asked to remain anonymous said that more positive test results should be expected among surgeons at CMH because it is common for them to congregate in the “surgeons’ lounge.” Another medical provider (who also chose to remain anonymous) affiliated with CMH said that those doctors who have tested positive have been at the hospital without wearing masks and seeing patients, potentially infecting others.

Levin said VCPH along with “multiple authoritative” agencies such as the California Department of Health have put out “expectations and recommendations” regarding protective protocol in healthcare settings. “To my knowledge [the hospitals] are taking it very seriously.”

CMH administrators, public information officers and CEO Gary Wilde did not respond to multiple requests for comment.