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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, February 11, 2021


    1. Positive Cases
      Of 402,000 COVID-19 tests administered throughout the County, 47,000 have tested positive for a cumulative positivity rate of 11.6%.
    2. Positive Cases in Kaweah Health
      Today there are 81 COVID-positive adults in the acute medical center with nine on ventilators.
    3. Deaths
      The County is reporting a total of 672 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, representing 1.45% of those who contracted the virus; equates to 140 deaths per 100,000 population. 77% were over 65 years old.
    4. Recovered Cases
      The County is reporting that 39,994 have recovered.
    5. Positive Employees at Kaweah Health
      We currently have 52 employees out on a COVID-related leave of absence.
    6. Positivity Rate
      The seven day positivity rate for the County is at 9.9%.
    7. Hospital Census
      As of 7:03 this morning, KD’s adult inpatient census at its acute medical center was 95.0% with only 25 beds available.
  1. Do you have an update on the program you started at Lifestyles Center for students of employees? Is it still active? Was it a beneficial addition for families with students?
    Yes, the program is still active. It has been extremely beneficial to our staff and families. Staff have told us that it allows both parents to keep working and not take a leave of absence or quit their job. It allows the children a safe and socially-distanced environment where they can safely Zoom as well as get social interaction, which is so needed for their mental health and a degree of stability during these trying times. The Center is licensed for up to 60 kids a day ages 5-13. We currently have 70 kids enrolled in the program. Our average is 45-50 on any given day. We have very limited space open for new students at this time. We are having to evaluate on a case by case basis as to if they need Full Time M-F, Mornings Only, Afternoons Only, or a “drop in” type basis.
  1. One of our local schools is going to start giving teachers a COVID self-testing kit. Can you speak to this? I have questions about accuracy wait time for results.
    There are COVID-19 “at home collection kits” and “at home testing kits”. An example of an “at-home collection kit” comes from Everlywell. It is FDA-EUA approved and requires only a lower nasal, or nares, swab. You ship, free of charge, your specimen collection to a designated lab who promises electronically-communicated results within 24-48 hours of being received. The specimen is run on a PCR Molecular platform and claims to produce results at 95% sensitivity and 98% specificity. The test costs $109 and is claimed to be covered by insurance.

Then there is an “at-home testing kit”, like the one made by Lucira.It’s FDA-EUA approved test claims to be a molecular-based test using a nasal swab to collect the sample.You must have a physician’s order/prescription to receive the kit.The sample swab is swirled in a vial that comes with the kit and in 30 minutes or less the results can be read directly from the test unit’s light up display.They are sold to healthcare providers for $1,200 for 24 single-use kits ($50 per kit).They claim to have a 94% sensitivity rate (ability to identify positive results) and 98% specificity (ability to identify negative results).

  1. There is a lot in the news about the CDC saying that schools can reopen and the churches just won a battle at the Supreme Court level regarding having in-person services. Are you concerned about these decisions since the numbers are still high?
    I would be greatly concerned if schools and churches do not follow the COVID-avoidance precautions that are conditions for schools and churches to re-open to in-person activities—masking, social distancing, etc. I also very concerned about the physical and mental health and well-being of our children and I believe that prohibiting in-person schooling might be causing great harm to our children. I have also read that for the many schools that have re-opened, the incidence of virus spread has been extremely low.
  1. Have our testing numbers declined at our testing sites? How many COVID tests are being performed each day at our sites?
    No. We are still performing a significant number of COVID tests each day at our various clinics and in the parking lot of the Lifestyle Center. January 2021 was our highest month ever for COVID-19 testing where we performed 18,182 tests; December ranked second highest with 17,676 tests; and November ranked third highest with 10,752 tests.
  1. Is KD reopening non-emergent surgeries? Any updates on reopening Lifestyle Center?
    Effective February 1st, we resumed elective surgery and procedures with limitations: 6 elective inpatient surgeries per day and unlimited elective outpatient surgeries and procedures with high assurance that they would not require an overnight stay. Beginning February 15th, we are increasing inpatient elective surgeries and procedures to 10 per day. With respect to the Lifestyle Center, we cannot reopen until our County moves into Tier 2, Red under the State’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” program; when that happens, we will be limited to 25% of licensed occupancy.
  1. What are your thoughts on Dr. Fauci’s latest suggestion, and now the CDC’s recommendation, that people should double mask?
    I think some of it has to do with the new COVID-19 variants we are seeing in the U.K., South Africa, Brazil and now the U.S. Scientists and others are concerned that they are much more contagious, more-easily spread and can better elude COVID vaccine antibodies. Single masks are generally made of porous layers of material that allow you to breathe but each layer is offset slightly so that the “holes” don’t line up exactly and create a web that prevents micro-molecules from reaching your mouth or nose. If you add a second mask on top of a first, usually a cloth mask over a surgical or medical mask, you create an additional barrier. Dr. Fauci and the CDC are recommending double masking for the general public who does not have access to N95 masks or is reserving them for healthcare workers. According to the CDC, they are most concerned that single cloth masks and general medical masks do not fit tightly enough against a person’s face to prevent aerosolized virus from slipping into openings. A second mask over a general, three-ply mask helps close these gaps; the CDC’s website also provides guidance on how to tie knots in the ear-loops to create a tighter fit.
  1. Are the vaccines becoming more readily available to community members?
    The County has reported they have received 49,000 doses and have administered 33,500. A lot of vaccinations are occurring, just not as fast as we need them to. The State has made the decision to contract with Blue Shield to take over the distribution and administration of the vaccines and they are wanting vaccinations to be done through the provider network. We are preparing ourselves to vaccinate patients of Kaweah Health and will most likely be working with Blue Shield for mass vaccination events.