Open Accessibility Menu

Kaweah Health Calls Off Hospital Capacity Code Triage

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
Kaweah Health Calls Off Hospital Capacity Code Triage


November 5, 2021


Laura Florez-McCusker

Director of Media Relations


Kaweah Health Calls Off Hospital Capacity Code Triage

VISALIA, CA – Kaweah Health, which has the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the State, called off its second internal disaster today, known as a Code Triage. This is the second internal disaster related to hospital census and capacity in less than three months for the health system. Kaweah Health remains in its COVID-19 Code Triage, which was called in March 2020.

On Friday, as of 4 p.m., there were 350 adult inpatients (excluding Maternal Child Health), being cared for at Kaweah Health Medical Center, with 87 patients seeking care in its Emergency Department (ED) and 24 of those waiting for inpatient admission. Of its inpatients, 105 patients were positive for COVID-19. Those numbers were down slightly from Oct. 3 when Kaweah Health called its code triage with 368 inpatients at its downtown medical center and zero beds available for additional patients needing hospitalization. On that day, 111 patients were seeking care in the ED and Kaweah Health had 110 COVID-19 patients.

“We are feeling some relief today as we prepare to welcome the first of 16 registered nurses that the State is sending to help us care for patients,” said Keri Noeske, Kaweah Health Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, noting that the nurses would be available to assist Kaweah Health through the end of the month. “With these additional nurses, we’ll have staffing so that we can use surge beds as high volumes continue.”

On Friday, Kaweah Health remained very busy, and continued to house one of the largest numbers of patients with COVID-19 in the state, said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our true inpatient occupancy rate is above 100 percent and has been throughout the Delta surge, which began back in August,” he said.

One reason for that, Herbst said, is Tulare County’s high number of people with chronic health conditions – many people struggle with chronic illnesses that land them in the hospital. But, the other reason, Herbst said, was the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. “While patients with COVID represent less than a third of our total patients they are having a tremendous impact on the healthcare system and it’s something that really could be avoided,” he said. “We’ve seen how effective vaccinations are in keeping patients out of the hospital and 90 to 95 percent of our inpatients with COVID are unvaccinated. I just imagine what our condition would be like if we did not have those 105 patients with COVID needing hospitalized care right now”

COVID-19 hospitalizations are very different in other areas of the State, particularly in counties with higher vaccination rates. Tulare County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the State (45th out of 58 counties), with 46.40 percent of the population fully vaccinated. In areas where there are high vaccination rates, hospitalizations are much lower. For example, there were 20 patients with COVID at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in a county whose vaccination rate was 76 percent. In Santa Clara County where 73.3 percent of the population is vaccinated, there were 29 COVID hospitalizations at Stanford Medical Center. And in Los Angeles County, where the vaccination rate is 72 percent, UCLA has nine COVID patients and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center had 13 patients with COVID.

Community members are still encouraged to seek care from their primary care physicians or Kaweah Health’s Urgent Care Centers for non life-threatening illnesses and injuries before seeking care in the Emergency Department.

Kaweah Health Urgent Care Site Hours and locations are as follows:

Court Street – 1633 S. Court St., Visalia

Daily, 8 a.m. -10 p.m.

Demaree – 3600 W. Flagstaff Ave., Visalia

Daily, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

For the latest COVID-19 information, visit or follow Kaweah Health on social media @kaweahhealth.