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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, December 17



  • Positive cases in County- 27,390 positive
  • Positive cases in hospital- 140 cases
  • Deaths in County - 339
  • Positive Employees – 781 total, 230 employees and 5 providers currently positive, in addition, 80 are quarantined due to living with someone who is positive.
  • Positivity Rate- 10.5%
  1. Can you speak about the recent decision to COVID test all admissions?
  • We have been doing nasopharyngeal swab on every symptomatic patient in the hospital whether in ED or on the floor. We are finding that more and more patients that are coming to get tested at the clinic are positive and asymptomatic. 50% of the population doesn’t feel symptoms at all. Because of that we have decided to test all patients using the nasal swab test.
  • Why now, why not sooner since we've had more tests available for a while?
    • Testing supplies and platforms are more plentiful. With this wide spread transmission and asymptomatic we have more and more employees contracting the virus and we are feeling greater unease regarding people coming in to the facility. Most importantly, the decision was made last week that we will do the nasal swab testing throughout the organizations, so we can test every patient.
  • Anymore thought on testing the unique visitor allowed per admission?
    • Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday all section chiefs meet for two hours to address all aspects of this pandemic. We just talked about testing visitors yesterday. It takes about seven minutes to get back a positive test and 15 minutes to get back negative result. Unfortunately, right now because we have limited the hours for visitation, our lines are really queuing up now. Our challenge is staffing screening tables. We don’t have enough staff to be able to do swabbing and testing right at the point of entry for visitor. It is something we will continue to evaluate.
  • Is the combined flu/COVID test offered at any/ all sites?
    • Yes, we can test for influenza A, B, and COVID all at the same time. We are only doing that for symptomatic patients.
  1. Vaccinations
  • When will the vaccinations start in Visalia? What will be the order of priority for different groups (both hospital and community)
    • The government wants the initial vaccine to go to frontline healthcare workers, skilled nursing home residents, and first responders. The community vaccines are still up in the air. Once the frontline staff are vaccinated, we will work with the County to vaccinate the community.
  • How many vaccines will KD be receiving?
    • We received 1,950 doses on Wednesday and are expecting an additional shipment in the next 21 days for the second dose.
  • Will doctors at VMC be vaccinating their patients independently like the flu shot?
    • Once we vaccinate our employees, the vaccines will be available at all of our clinics.
  • Will COVID vaccine be available at CVS and Walgreens?
    • Both CVS and Walgreens will be providing vaccinations for the County’s skilled nursing facilities; both patients and staff.
  • Can you explain the decision for KD not to require all staff to get the vaccine?
    • Kaweah Health cannot force an employee to take a vaccine. Like the flu shot, employees have the right to decline.
  • Can you please encourage people to take the vaccine? Can you encourage the local medical society to encourage patients as well? Can you work with the Chamber, VUSD, and COS to get the word out about the importance of the vaccine?
    • We will get this message out.
  • There are articles that the rich and famous will be able to receive the vaccine before regular folks. What are your thoughts on that?
    • This is always the case.
  1. Is waste water testing being done for COVID in areas around Tulare County? I know some colleges have been doing it. It shows what is coming in areas before the highs hit.
  • Yes, this is true. The CDC has published an that talks about sewage water that we as humans discharge release the RNA in our bodies and that RNA carries the positive RNA into system.
  1. Has there been a case of Kaweah Health of patients testing positive multiple times?
  • We have not seen it amongst our patients or staff, but have read stories about a patient in Hong Kong who contracted it twice. The dead virus cells can stay in your system for 3-4 more months after you had the virus.

5. Are we seeing that most front line workers are wanting to take the vaccine?

  • We are going to start at 6:30am-3:30pm on Friday for the vaccine clinic, and we hope to do 400 vaccines a day for five days. We have a registration system where employees in Phase I can go in and register within the 5 days. As of this morning we only had 200 of our employees and doctors in Phase I who have signed up, and only 11 employees have declined at this point.