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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, August 27

Question #1: Current Numbers

  • Positive cases in Tulare County - 13,514 total; 713 active
  • Positive Inpatients at Kaweah Health - 47
  • Deaths in Tulare County - 224
  • Recovered Cases in Tulare County -12,736
  • Positive Kaweah Health Employees - 50 active on leave.
  • Tulare County Positivity Rate - 11.6% (as of 08/24)
  • Kaweah Health Hospital Census – 302 adult patients (226 at Medical Center; 43 in ICCU; 33 in ICU) as of 08/26

Question #2: Is the percentage of COVID patients on ventilators about the same or higher than the percentage of people who end up on ventilators from the flu? If so, how much, approximate percentage?

  • ANSWER: It is not typical to record the number of patients on ventilators due to a particular diagnosis, for example flu. However, local, State, and Federal governments have required specific information be reported during this unprecedented pandemic. Kaweah Health has cared for 93 patients with COVID-19 that required a ventilator from the beginning of the pandemic’s impact on our community through today.

Question #3: Do you think your decreased positive results could be due to no longer using the more accurate PCR test?

  • ANSWER: There are two ways to get the positive testing down.One, fewer people contract the virus.The other is to start testing more people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. The nominator gets huge and positivity falls. We have two testing platforms- BD Max and Abbott ID They are designed to detect the DNA of the virus. The BD Max is the most sensitive PCR tester. I don’t think that is why the number of cases are falling because we do continue to use PCR tests. We have secured a third platform, Quidell. This platform detects presence of protein on virus cell through antigens.

Question #4: What is the total number of COVID-19 tests KD has taken? Why is that number not reported on the daily reports?

  • ANSWER: The total number of specimens collected at Kaweah Health for COVID-19 testing is 26,827. The reason this number is not reported daily is that it can be misleading. Multiple patients require repeat testing and there are State and Federal requirements for healthcare worker personnel testing at specific time intervals. The total number of specimens collected for COVID-19 testing does not reflect unique collections.

Question #5: How many recovered COVID-19 patients has Kaweah Health had?

  • ANSWER: We have cared for 771 patients with COVID-19. 125 of those patients have died. 47 of them are in the hospital. We have discharged 599 people from Kaweah after caring for them while they had COVID-19. We do not keep patients until recovery in the hospital. The County and their primary care providers continue to monitor them at discharge for recovery status.

Question #6: How many patients were discharged? Are the deaths reported the same day or accumulated?

  • ANSWER: 599 patients have discharged or transferred to another facility. We report the deaths to the County within 24 hours, usually less. The County then reports them in their numbers Monday through Friday.

Question #7: If you only test symptomatic patients how will the positivity rate ever go down?

  • ANSWER: Up until now, we have historically followed the CDC and State recommended guidelines to test only those patients that are symptomatic, exposed to someone who was COVID-19 positive or coming in for surgeries. Because the absolute shortage of COVID-19 test kits and diversion of our contracted allocations by the Federal Government, if we had not stuck to that prioritization, we would have ran out of COVID-19 test kits months ago which would have placed our community at great risk without the ability to test patients coming into the hospital. Fortunately, however, we have just recently received shipments of our new point of care devices along with 15,000 test kits that we will be deploying throughout our clinic network. Through our partnership with the State and Tulare County Public Health Department, we will be able to begin testing a much broader base of patients, particularly in our more rural and underserved areas and began hosting community testing events and providing results within 24 hours. We are looking forward to see what this increased testing will do to our positivity rate.

Question #8: When will we ever get off the watch list?

Question #9: Why are the hospitalizations dropping so much while the number of positive cases is consistently increasing? Is it possibly because those who are spreading infection are younger?

  • ANSWER: We have seen an increase in the younger population, and suspect that hospitalizations have decreased because younger patients tend to have better immune response.

Question #10: What are we talking about when we talk about our social bubbles?

  • ANSWER: Your immediate family. You know your social bubble when they exercise behavior and you trust them 100%. A group of people you feel really safe with and hold dear the same values you do. That everyone holds everyone accountable.

Question #11: Why haven’t we seen positive cases in day cares?

  • ANSWER: We just turned our Lifestyle Center into day camp so we can accommodate our working parents. We are using all spaces so that the children can practice social distancing. We screen every day for symptoms and so far we have had zero COVID-19 cases.

    While we have not seen outbreaks at preschools and daycares there are many studies that say that children are carriers of the virus.

Question #12: Are we doing Flu shots at our clinics yet?

  • ANSWER: Flu vaccines will be available in our clinics and urgent care centers around October 1, 2020.