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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, April 8, 2021

Questions and Answers for 04/8/2021 Community Engagement Meeting

    1. Positive Cases
      Tulare County has reported 49,188 COVID-positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
    2. Positive Cases in Kaweah Health
      Kaweah Health currently has 17 COVID-positive inpatients in the acute medical center; 3 in the ICU with 2 on ventilators.
    3. Deaths
      Tulare County has reported 814 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic; this equates to a death rate of 1.65% (percent of COVID-positive resident who died of COVID), or 168 COVID-related deaths per 100,000 people.
    4. Recovered Cases
      As of yesterday, April 7th, Tulare County has reported 48,076 recovered cases and 814 currently-active cases.
    5. Positive Employees at Kaweah Health
      We currently have 16 employees and no providers that are out on a COVID-related leave of absence; 12 of them went out on leave of absence before January 1, 2021.
    6. Positivity Rate
      As of yesterday, the County is reporting a 7-day positivity rate of 1.8% for the overall County and a Health Equity positivity rate of 2.0% for the quadrant of zip codes in Tulare County that have the poorest health factors and risks. Both of these metrics fall within the Tier 3 Yellow category of the Governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy program; Tulare County’s 7-day average number of new COVID-positive cases per 100,000 population sits at 3.1, qualifying for Tier 2 Red status; this rate must be below 2.0 to qualify for Tier 3 Yellow.
    7. Hospital Census
      Kaweah Health’s adult acute inpatient occupancy rate was at 89% this morning with 14 ICU beds open; 15 ICCU beds open; only 3 of 237 medical/surgical beds open; and 6 overflow beds open on the 12-bed pediatric unit.
  1. Are vaccines at our clinics yet? What is the percentage of our County that has been vaccinated?
  • We are currently administering approximately 100 doses of vaccine (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) on a daily basis at our Urgent Care Center on Court Street. Beginning next Monday, April 12th, we will begin offering approximately 50 daily doses of J&J vaccine at our Urgent Care Center on Demaree. Shortly after that, we will deploy vaccines and vaccination capability to our five rural health clinics where we anticipate offering an average of 80 shots per day.
  • The State of California is using a population number of 484,423 for Tulare County when calculating all of our various metrics. 61.7% of our population, or 298,889, are over the age of 18. There have been 118,453 doses administered to Tulare County residents over age 18; that translates to a vaccination rate (at least one dose) of 39%, still well below the level to achieve herd immunity (estimated at 70- 80%).
  1. How long will we continue to offer COVID testing if the numbers continue to drop?
  • COVID-testing numbers are definitely dropping throughout the County. March had the lowest testing volume over the past four months with about 12,000 total tests performed; April is on track to be very low; maybe less than 5,000. With that, the dedicated COVID-testing seatrains located at our Exeter, Lindsay and Dinuba clinics will be removed by the end of April. We will continue to offer COVID testing at the clinics as part of our normal workflow but will try and focus community COVID testing at our two urgent care centers located on Court Street and Demaree; Visalia Medical Clinic will continue to offer COVID testing to its patients.
  1. Visitor Policy Updates
  • Current visitation policy:
    • General Adult - 1 visitor per day 10a-9p for non-COVID patients; the 1 visitor can rotate from day to day;
    • Critical Care – 1 visitor per day 10a-5p, 7p-9p for non-COVID patients; the 1 visitor can rotate from day to day;
    • NICU allowed 2 visitors 9a-6p, one visitor may stay overnight;
    • Peds allowed 2 visitors 24/7;
    • L&D allowed 1 visitor 24/7.
  • Future Next Change:
    • Potential expansion of hours (starting at 8a, same end time);
    • Potential expansion to 2 visitors per day; 2 visitors could rotate from day to day but not that same day.
    • We do allow visitation of COVID-positive patients in the following circumstances:
      • End of life;
      • Deteriorating conditions;
      • Major surgery/trauma (preparing for or immediately following a major surgery with high risk of death); or,
      • Family conference or plan of care changes needing family at bedside.
    • Unit leadership can evaluate and grant any requests for exceptions as deemed appropriate.
  1. Are the COVID Variants here and does the vaccine work against them?
  • Last week the Tulare County Public Health Department reported that three people in Tulare County had contracted one of the COVID-19 variant viruses: 2 with the United Kingdom’s B.1.1.7 strain and 1 with the South Africa strain of B.1.351. Both variants are considered to be more contagious, and possibly more severe, than the original viral strain but both Pfizer and Moderna, along with scientists and immunologists, believe their vaccines are still highly effective in combatting these variants. Moderna has recently started testing a new vaccine, or booster vaccine, specifically designed to be more effective against the South African strain.
  1. Have we seen any spread in our schools since they opened up?
  • While we were reading about COVID-19 outbreaks among VUSD schools back in December (14 students at Shannon Ranch Elementary quarantined and 12 students at Ivanhoe Elementary), I have not heard or read of any COVID-positive outbreaks since schools recently reopened.