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Frequently Asked Questions

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, January 14



  1. Positive cases in County - 39,347 total since March 2020, 5,776 active cases (averaging 400 new positives a day).
  2. Positive cases in hospital – 157; 21 are in ICU, 27 on ventilators.
  3. Deaths in County – 482; 45% are male / 54% are female. Tulare County ranks 5th in the State for deaths.
  4. Positive Employees –Total of 1035 employees since mid-March 2020 (20% of our employee base of 5,100). Of these 1035, 878 have recovered and 157 positive employees are on Leave of Absence. Of these 157, five are hospitalized. In addition, a number of employees (40 or so) are quarantined due to a COVID positive person in their home. Update on Providers: Total of 31 with 28 recovered and two out; one deceased.
  5. Positivity Rate – County 19.7%; State 13.3%
  6. Hospital Census – We have 323 patients. (94% occupied)
  7. Total Tulare County Residents Vaccinated - 5,388

2. Now that Tulare County is doing vaccinations, what is the process?

The vaccines have been shipped and delivered to communities. Tulare County received 18,275 doses, but only 5300 vaccines have been administered. Phase 1A has three tiers. The State was emphatic we are only allowed to vaccinate the people in Phase 1 and our licensing is at stake if we go outside of that tier. We are hearing that people outside of Phase 1A are getting the vaccine, and that was a glitch on the County’s end. The County is using volunteers and they should not have given vaccines to those not in the appropriate tier. In the County’s defense, the State provided zero instruction or help on how roll this out. The County will be holding a vaccination clinic at the Tulare Agri Center, opening up 10 drive through lanes, again which is supposed to be only for Phase 1A healthcare workers and nursing home residents Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16. Depending on how many come to the vaccination event this weekend, the County could move into Phase 1B as early as next week. However, this is a fluid process. We don’t want any vaccines left over or to go to waste.

We also know that starting January 20th, College of the Sequoia will create four lanes for vaccinations once our County moves into Phase 1B. It will run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for an extended period of time. All four Kaweah Health Clinics will eventually be vaccination points.

a. How do we sign up for the 2nd dose?

You should be able to get signed up right then and there of getting your first dose. You also have the option to go back through the County website to schedule again.

b. Is a person able to choose between the Pfizer and Moderna?

I don’t think so.

c. When will childcare workers receive the vaccine?

Phase 1B, Tier1. Childcare workers, education, 1st responders, food and agriculture workers.

d. How many people need to receive the vaccine before our community can open up?

I have not seen that defined. While I have heard of Herd Immunity, I really don’t know. The CDC still says after being fully vaccinated we still have to wear masks and continue to socially distance. Remember, there is still that five percent chance to contract the virus.

e. What are the side effects that Kaweah Health staff have been experiencing?

It is all over the board. Pfizer, side effects are comprised of: fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, and joint pain. We saw very little reaction in almost everyone from the first dose. We are seeing more severe reactions to the second dose (fever, chills, body aches, etc.) Those who do have a response and get sick are lucky because it means your body is having the best immunity response to the vaccine.

f. Is KD holding onto vaccine that is going to expire? Why aren’t they using it on other tiers?

We do not have vaccine that is going to expire at this time. We cannot use it for other tiers because our licensing is at risk if we vaccinate outside Phase 1A. As soon as we get the word to do Phase 1B we will open it up.

3. Deaths are up. Is that just because of increased COVID numbers or is it because the virus is harder to handle?

It is due to the increase in numbers.

4. Why are ambulances triaging patient care at this time? Are they knowledgeable enough to make such critical decisions?

I first read about this happening in Fresno County. It came as a surprise to me that Tulare County ambulances were doing the same type of triage. This is an effort to assist the hospitals that are overwhelmed and they are assessing patients in the field and determining if they really need to go to the hospital or not. I am uncomfortable with it and I know a lot of people are. I heard stories of poor decisions that were made. We are trying to do everything we can on an outpatient basis to prevent additional hospitalizations, but, we want our community to be brought to the ED if they need to have higher levels of care.

5. There have been rumors and articles on Crisis Care. Can you talk a little about that? Will that happen at KD, and, if so, when will that go into effect?

This is a serious topic and weighs very heavy on our hearts. Back in April, when we were watching what was happening in New York, we created a Crisis Care policy and a decision tree using information from an organization who had already developed pandemic crisis policies. Over the last week and a half, we have set up our own crisis triage command center in the hospital. We are practicing in the event we need to move into Crisis Care, but we hope we never have to.

The individual hospital ultimately makes the decision to activate Crisis Care. The Hospital CEO, Chief of Staff, Board of Directors and Executive Team makes the decision to activate. Then, we would inform CDPH, the State, the County, and then we inform the Regional Management. We notify them of the activation so they can be aware in the event other hospitals can help transfer patients to other hospitals.

6. How is Kaweah Health’s supply of PPE?

We have done a great job building up our inventory. Gloves have been a real challenge. I reached out to Devin Mathis a month ago or so and he called right back and worked with the State and County and we started receiving gloves. We have a 40 day supply but we could use more. The State just helped by sending twenty new ventilators.

7. While we have not seen any deaths in children from COVID, what are the lasting effects them having the virus.

We have provided care for COVID positive children d but I don’t know the outcome or lingering effects.

8. What is the protocol if someone contracted COVID, recovered, and was exposed again? Do they have to quarantine again?

If someone had COVID and recovered within the last 90 days and then have another exposure they do not have to quarantine at home. If it is outside 90 days and they get exposed, they should quarantine again.