Efren T. Bermudo, a registered nurse with surgical services at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, received a phone call April 16, 2020, on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The COVID-19 Care Line is a 24/7 phone line that was put in place to answer questions that patients may have in regards to COVID-19. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan J. Beauton)
Efren T. Bermudo, a registered nurse with surgical services at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, received a phone call April 16, 2020, on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The COVID-19 Care Line is a 24/7 phone line that was put in place to answer questions that patients may have in regards to COVID-19. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan J. Beauton)

SNH Okinawa’s COVID-19 joint care line

by Lance Cpl. Brennan Beauton
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa implemented a COVID-19 joint care line April 15, 2020 on Camp Foster.

The 24/7 phone line was put in place to answer questions that patients may have in regards to COVID-19.

“The call center staff can provide information about how to provide self-care,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Jenny S. Burkett, a senior nurse executive with the Hospital. “They are also co-located with Preventive Medicine Technicians, who can assist with contact tracing, if a patient is under investigation and is tested.”

The line is available to the Okinawa military community. Its representatives have the ability to connect callers to services across the island, including where the patient is seen for primary care.

“If someone calls saying they have symptoms of COVID-19, the team at the [call center] will ask additional questions about symptoms, length of symptoms, contacts, and other questions, using a screening protocol,” said Burkett. “This information will help determine next steps for the patient—whether they have an appointment or need to see someone more urgently.”

The COVID-19 care line is staffed with Air Force and Navy medical personnel, taking a team approach to combat the virus.

“Cooperation is important for the [care line] because COVID-19 could happen to any of us,” said Burkett. “We need to work together to successfully care for the people living and working on Okinawa.”

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