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Tulare County Public Health Branch and Kaweah Health Report Second Confirmed Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Laura Florez-McCusker

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VISALIA – On March 13, Tulare County Public Health Branch officials notified Kaweah Health that a patient screened at its Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19.

The individual is currently self-quarantined at their home and Kaweah Health is working closely with Tulare County Health & Human Services to monitor the situation. It has been determined that Kaweah Health employees followed proper infection prevention protocols throughout contact with the individual and there is no reason to believe that anyone was infected during this time. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Kaweah Health is closely monitoring all employees who came in contact with the patient, and will test and treat anyone who displays symptoms.

“We are committed to the health and safety of this community and we continue to work tremendously hard to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep patients, staff, and visitors safe,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health's Chief Executive Officer. “We have a dedicated team that works on infection prevention measures year-round, but we established a dedicated task force in February that has been meeting regularly to help us improve our plan as COVID-19 has evolved.” This task force has 12 sub-committees that have been focused on specific aspects or areas of our organization.

Effective immediately, Kaweah Health has also activated an incident command center in the Medical Center that will be staffed 24/7 to ensure that the organization can immediately respond to any situations that may arise. Senior administrative and clinical leaders will be staffing this command center. They are in frequent contact with Tulare County Health & Human Services, local hospitals, and other local healthcare providers to coordinate our responses to evolving community needs.

Kaweah Health has taken a number of measures to put the health and safety of patients and visitors first. They include limiting patients to one visitor (children cannot visit) across the healthcare district, except for at its skilled nursing program, where no visitors are allowed except for end-of-life patients. Additionally, Kaweah Health implemented temporary entrance changes that will limit the number of people going into areas where patients may be present. It has also cancelled all public events, removed volunteers from its sites, cancelled business travel, and asked its more than 5,000 employees to cancel internal meetings planned for 14 or more individuals and use teleconferencing or online meetings instead.

Kaweah Health will continue to share COVID-19 information and regular updates with the community on its website at, via media statements, and on its social media accounts.

Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency advises if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, please call your primary physician or 2-1-1 rather than walking into a medical office or hospital. Your physician will connect with Tulare County Public Health to determine if testing is appropriate. Tulare County Public Health Officer: 559-685-5720 or 559-471-7092 after hours and weekends.