Today’s environment is consumed by news and updates surrounding COVID-19,
from shelter-in-place orders to public area closures. Life as we know
it is currently far from normal. Torrance Memorial Medical Center is prepared
and committed to caring for the local community as we all face the global
health task of minimizing the impact and spread of COVID-19.
As we forge through April and head into May, Torrance Memorial continues
its preparations for a potential increase in patient volume. Its team
of doctors, nurses, emergency directors and administrators have developed
house-wide plans to support the hospital through this rapidly changing
Current Status at Torrance Memorial
Overall, we have seen an increase in the number of patients presenting
with COVID-19 symptoms. The rate of admissions has remained stable for
the first two weeks of April and manageable with the hospital’s
existing ICU/bed capacity. COVID patients are in isolation, and all safety
protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) are being followed to reduce the spread of infection.
As of the week of April 15, the current predictive models suggest we may
not see an exponential surge. If the community continues their efforts
with social distancing, we expect to see a slowing COVID patient volume
for the next several weeks. However, if we do experience a surge, the
necessary preparations are in place to manage a significant increase in
patient volume. According to CEO Craig Leach, two ancillary surge triage
areas have already been implemented—including a tent erected adjacent
to the emergency department and an additional tented area in the valet
parking lot (as a precautionary measure).
“We currently have enough bed/ICU capacity and can flex with an increase
in patient volume,” Leach said. “Fortunately, the size of
our facility allows us the ability to significantly increase licensed
bed capacity of 443 to 500 through flexibility granted by the state.”
“Our emergency department has set in place new protocols separating
all suspected COVID-19 patients to ensure the safety of all patients needing
emergency medical attention,” he adds. “If you are experiencing
any symptoms of stroke or heart attack, please call 911 immediately. Our
emergency department is prepared and capable of safely handling all emergency
needs during this current health crisis.”
Torrance Memorial has implemented an off-campus drive-through testing site,
available by appointment only to patients who have a physician order.
Testing began in late March, and testing availability has been increasing.
If you have questions, contact your primary care physician (PCP). If you
don’t have a PCP you can call the Torrance Memorial patient coordinator
line at 310-891-6717.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Though there is a nationwide discussion about the availability of N95 masks,
Torrance Memorial has adequate supply of PPEs, masks and gowns, and continues
to source new channels to secure additional supplies. Local companies
such as Skechers, Boeing, SpaceX, Honda and many others have stepped up
to help by either providing their supply of PPE or helping produce supplies.
The hospital recently received its first shipment of locally-engineered
and produced face shields from SpaceX for caregivers performing the highest
If you are interested in making a donation, please visit
www.torrancememorialfoundation.org/donate to learn more about what is needed and how to make cash or in-kind donations.
Physician Office Visits and Telemedicine
People experiencing mild symptoms are encouraged to contact their primary
care physician or local urgent care. Torrance Memorial Physician Network
offices and many other community physicians are currently offering telemedicine
services during this crisis. Medicare and many health plans are also temporarily
providing telemedicine benefits to their patients during this time period.
Same day telemedicine appointments are available. Please call 310-891-6717
to schedule a virtual appointment.
When should I seek medical attention?
You should get immediate medical attention if you have a fever, trouble
breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, or bluish lips or
face. “If you’re sick, call your primary care physician,”
recommends Torrance Memorial infectious disease specialist Dr. Eric Milefchik.
“There are new options for remote or telemedicine available through
many local physician offices and urgent care.”
The importance of proper handwashing, social distancing and sheltering
in place are actionable recommendations we must follow in order to prevent
the spread of COVID-19. “This is especially true for our seniors
and those who have pre-existing medical conditions,” adds Dr. Milefchik.
As a nationally-ranked hospital, Torrance Memorial strictly adheres to
the clinical guidelines set by federal, state and local public health agencies.
Foundation at Work - Donations
The response from the community with donations to support Torrance Memorial’s
efforts during this COVID-19 crisis has been overwhelming. From in-kind
donations of PPE supplies, cloth masks for non-clinical staff, meals and
snacks to 3D printing and laser-cutting services from SpaceX and Boeing,
the hospital has witnessed the goodness of the South Bay community with
a desire to help. Cash donations are also critical during this historic
time, and nearly $1 million has been raised at the time this article went to print.
Like all facilities on the frontline, Torrance Memorial has physicians,
nursing staff and ancillary services working through stressful and uncertain
times. Our staff has demonstrated selfless determination to care for patients
and the community in the best possible manner.
Torrance Memorial remains grateful to the community for doing their part
to shelter in place and practice social distancing. The Torrance Memorial
family sends sincere thanks to all who have donated and supported them
during this public health crisis.