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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, February 25, 2021


    1. Positive Cases
    2. Positive Cases in Kaweah Health
      59 plus 1 suspected in the ED
    3. Deaths
    4. Recovered Cases
    5. Positive Employees at Kaweah Health
      32 w/ additional 6 quarantined
    6. Positivity Rate
    7. Hospital Census
      88.4% occupied acute adult inpatient beds
  2. Can you give us a vaccination update? Are we getting closer to the vaccines being available at KD’s urgent cares and clinics?
  • Tulare County has now received 63,225 vaccine doses and has administered 37,985 of them; I don’t know how many first dose vs. second dose. Kaweah Health will begin vaccinating eligible and highest-risk patients that are currently established with one of our rural health clinics beginning this week. We are not yet vaccinating the general public but are working towards that with Blue Shield of California, the recently-contracted third party administrator to the State.
  1. What are your thoughts on the New York nursing home numbers not being properly reported?
  • First and foremost, I am deeply saddened for the families of those nursing home patients who lost a loved one to COVID. In Tulare County, we have lost 187 nursing home patients to COVID. As far as my thoughts on the underreporting of COVID-19-related nursing home patient deaths in New York, I am certainly disappointed to hear it and I am very proud of the honesty and transparency that has guided Kaweah Health throughout this entire pandemic. I know that we have done everything possible to protect our skilled nursing home patients from becoming infected and that our staff even went and worked in community nursing homes early on in the pandemic to help protect their staff and patients.
  1. The need for staffing has been discussed several times on these webinars. Now that positive community and employee numbers are declining have your staffing needs leveled out?
  • Yes, our staffing resources are greatly improved. Over the one-year life of this pandemic, 1,143 of our employees and 30 of our providers have contracted the virus; only 32 of our employees and none of our providers are still out on a COVID-related leave of absence. With great sadness, three employees and one provider passed away from the virus. Two of our employees are currently hospitalized with COVID and six of our employees are quarantined at home because they live with someone who is positive.
  • We still have a number of nurse travelers supporting us (22 procured from the State and 40 on our own) and we have hired many new nurses and LVNs over this past year. We are definitely in better shape than we were just a few months ago.
  1. Are we close to the Lifestyle Center reopening? Before it closed the last time, social distancing measures had already been put into place. Will the state require additional measures or is the facility ready to open?
  • I sure hope so. The County reported yesterday that our 7-day positivity rate sits at 7.0% which qualifies us for the Tier 2 Red category under the Governor’s “Blue Print for a Safer Economy” program; however, our adjusted 7-day Average New Cases per 100,000 population rate sits at 18.4 and it needs to be at 7 or below; our Health Equity Positivity Rate also needs to be below 8.0% and it’s sitting at 9.5%. But, all numbers are going in the right direction. As soon as we qualify for the Red Tier, we intend to immediately reopen, adhering to the State’s guidelines of 25% occupancy, social distancing, disinfection and wearing masks, even while exercising. Patrick Tazio, our TLC Director, and Jag Batth are already mobilizing the gym for reopening. While the State is indicating that gymnasium pools cannot be reopened until a County moves from Red to Orange (Tier 3), we intend to follow the CDC’s guidelines which allows for the reopening of the pool.
  1. Can you give us an update on the ED and Tulare Clinic?
  • The ED Expansion Project was scheduled to receive its final OSHPD inspection on March 4th and, if all went well, we would have received our Certificate of Occupancy the next day. Unfortunately, earlier today we experienced problems trying to balance the air handlers in the newly-expanded area and now need to order and replace some of them. Disappointedly, this will likely push our final inspection date back to March 27th. While this may result in an opening delay, we will still proceed now with installing computers, monitors, beds, supplies and everything else necessary to prepare for treating patients. We are still hoping for CDPH inspection in mid-to-late April and start seeing patients immediately after getting their green light.
  • With respect to our Tulare rural health clinic, we have received our Certificate of Occupancy and are now “stocking and staffing” with all of the same things I just mentioned for the ED.We also hope to receive CDPH approval in March to start seeing patient the first of April.
  1. If you could go back to the beginning of the pandemic, is there anything KD would do differently?
  • If I knew everything I know now and could take that knowledge and experience back to the beginning of the pandemic, there is probably much I would do differently, beginning with a mass acquisition of PPE, medications, supplies and staff; I wouldn’t have shut down surgery so quickly for the surge that never came (until it did in July); I probably would have instituted more strict PPE and disinfection compliance with employees and providers to better protect them from contracting the virus from COVID-positive patients; and I would have been able to tell the community just how infectious and deadly this virus is and how their behaviors and habits really do work (i.e., the surge that never came after Christmas and New Year’s).
  1. Cases per 100k, who determines that more than 7 cases per 100k is wide spread, who makes that determination?
  • I don’t really know the answer to this question but ultimately it is the Governor of California who makes these decisions. I know he has an entire task force devoted to the pandemic and I would imagine he takes counsel from them. I do not know if other states have similar “phase” models or programs for opening and closing services and their local economy.