Barton shares operational changes, efforts to reduce virus spread |

Barton shares operational changes, efforts to reduce virus spread

Submitted to the Tribune
Barton Memorial Hospital.
Tribune file

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Operational changes, including hospital visitation, screening protocols and testing facilities continue to be made in the wake of El Dorado County’s first cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The health and safety of patients and care providers is Barton Health’s top priority, and community spread of COVID-19 is a concern. Regardless of confirmed cases in South Lake Tahoe, the advice of Barton medical experts is to assume COVID-19 is in the community and stay home unless absolutely necessary, keeping a distance of 6 feet from others if you must leave the home.

Barton’s 24/7 COVID-19 Health Line, 530-600-1999, has screened hundreds of individuals who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If callers meet appropriate criteria they can be referred to Barton’s referral-only Respiratory Screening Center or Drive-up Clinic. Coronavirus testing by Barton is only conducted for those registered through the Health Line. Barton’s 24/7 Emergency Department is providing only emergent medical services at this time, and directs patients with symptoms of respiratory illness to call the Health Line first before arriving.

COVID-19 tests conducted by Barton are sent to state and private labs for analysis. Test results are reported to the patient’s county health department, who will then announce confirmed cases. Information about confirmed local COVID-19 cases will be reported by the El Dorado County Public Health Department, or Douglas County Health & Human Services Department websites.

To ensure proper resources are available to accommodate an anticipated surge in care, Barton is accepting medical supply donations such as masks (N95, surgical, and procedure maks are all accepted), disinfecting wipes such as Clorox or Sani-cloth wipes, hand sanitizer, face shields, goggles and eye shields, isolation or surgical gowns, Controlled Air Purifying Respirator and Powered Air Purifying Respirator machines or disposables. For more information and to schedule a pick-up or drop-off of donated medical supplies, please contact Barton Foundation Executive Director, Chris Kiser at, or 530-543-5612.

The Barton Foundation is leading a community effort to make masks at home and donate them to healthcare workers. Donations are also being accepted for the Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, and Barton will match donations up to $75,000 to offer aid to vulnerable populations, healthcare workers, and first responders facing financial hardship. Applications for relief will open March 30. To donate and for more information, visit

Medical services through Barton’s hospital and network of medical offices are available; however, operational changes to protect healthcare workers and patients are in effect.

These changes include:

•Visitation is no longer permitted within Barton Memorial Hospital. Exceptions include one partner for a mother in labor, one parent/guardian for pediatric patients, and a patient that is facing end-of-life.

•Nurses are now stationed at entrances screening patients and any designated visitors; besides a series of questions, screening protocol now includes taking patients’ temperatures upon arrival.

•Barton’s Ear, Nose & Throat Department will be temporarily closed, beginning Friday, March 27. Patients needing services from this department can ask their primary care provider for a referral.

•Elective surgeries and procedures will be rescheduled until further notice. All emergent surgeries will be performed at Barton Memorial Hospital; Lake Tahoe Surgery Center in Zephyr Cove is closed until further notice.

•Infusion, Rehabilitation, and GI services are limited to essential appointments only.

•Public access for general medical services to the hospital through the Front Lobby Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m and limited access through the Emergency Department to Sundays only.

•Barton’s 24/7 Emergency Department is accessible at the rear of the hospital for emergent medical services only.

•Patients seeking care for anything other than respiratory illnesses at Barton Urgent Care should call before arriving: 775-589-8901. Those with appointments will be met outside the entrance and be escorted in. Online appointments have been suspended.

•All orthopedic appointments and services, including Orthopedic Walk-in Care, are taking place at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness in South Lake Tahoe and at Tahoe Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Carson City.

•Osteoporosis and bone health services with Dr. Cottrell will be postponed until further notice.

•The Barton Customer Service office has closed until further notice. Patients can go to or call 530-543-5930 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

•Outpatient lab work has been moved to Barton’s 4th Street Express Lab, and hours have been extended to Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 7 a.m to 3 p.m.

The latest local, state and federal updates on COVID-19 and recommended health and safety guidelines are available on Barton’s website at

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