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Community Engagement Virtual Meeting

Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, March 25, 2021

Questions and Answers for 03/25/2021 Community Engagement Meeting

  1. Current Numbers For County
    1. Positive Cases
      48,878 countywide since beginning of pandemic; 558 currently-active cases.
    2. Positive Cases in Kaweah Health
      25 COVID-positive inpatients currently in the acute medical center with four in the ICU on ventilators.
    3. Deaths
      801 since beginning of pandemic.
    4. Recovered Cases
    5. Positive Employees at Kaweah Health
      23 on a COVID-related LOA.
    6. Positivity Rate
      3.0% countywide and 4.3% in the unhealthiest quadrant of Tulare County.
    7. Hospital Census
      308 adult inpatients in the acute medical center which translates to a 89.5% occupancy rate.
  1. My wife, who is an RN, would like to try and get the J&J vaccination. Would you happen to know if Kaweah is administering the J&J?
  • It’s being discussed as we speak. Our intention is to use the J&J vaccine for skilled nursing, mental health and acute rehabilitation patients as well as hemodialysis and radiation oncology patients; we eventually will look to roll this into our rural health clinics but the timing is still unknown.
  1. Has anyone died or become very ill after getting the vaccine?
  • I am aware of two patient deaths at Kaweah Health where the patient had received their first dose of vaccination but was symptomatic at the time they received their second vaccination. One patient was admitted somewhere between five and seven days after receiving their second dose and the other patient was hospitalized before they received their second dose. Neither patient had gone through the full vaccination process of two doses and two weeks of antibody development after the second dose. While scientists believe that there is some level of immunity and protection after the first dose, the 94-95% effectiveness touted by Pfizer and Moderna doesn’t occur until after the full vaccination process.
  1. How did the re-opening of Lifestyle go?
  • Quite well. Members are thrilled to be back and are doing a great job following the “COVID-avoidance rules (temperature screening, handwashing, distancing, disinfecting, wearing masks (acceptably-looser when performing aerobic exercises). Currently at 10% occupancy, which is still 5,500 square feet, but looking to move to 25% occupancy when we hit the Orange Tier 3.
  1. When do you think we will get out of the Red Tier?
  • Our 7-day overall positivity rate currently sits at 3.0% which qualifies for Tier 3 Orange placement; our Health Equity positivity rate (unhealthiest quadrant of Tulare County) currently sits at 4.3%, also qualifying for Tier 3 Orange placement; however, our 7-day average number of daily new COVID cases per 100,000 population currently sits at 6.3 which only qualifies us for the Tier 2 Red category (a county’s category placement is based on their worst-performing metric). To move into Tier 3 Orange, our 7-day daily new case rate must be below 4.0; however, once the State administers 4 million vaccine doses to the population living in the most unhealthiest quadrant of the State, the 7-day daily new case threshold moves from below 4.0 to below 6.0; with the County’s rate currently sitting at 6.3, we are very close to moving into the Tier 3 Orange category which could occur within just a couple or so weeks.
  1. How much longer do you think it will be before we can stop wearing masks in public?
  • Some states, including Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Texas, recently announced the end of their mask mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that people age 2 and older wear a mask in public around people outside of their household. It’s hard to say when we can stop wearing masks given that the end of regular face mask wearing is tied to the end of the pandemic. If and when we achieve herd immunity, routine mask wearing can likely be discontinued. Herd immunity means a majority of a population is immune to an infectious disease, providing indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease, such as newborns or vulnerable people who cannot get vaccinated due to health risks.
  • Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told CNN that it’s “possible” public health officials will continue to recommend masks in 2022. However, he said, life should look more normal by then, adding, “we’re going to have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year.”
  1. Is there still a high demand for COVID testing?
  • There is but it is definitely on the decline. December was our all-time-high month with approximately 23,000 tests, of which 20% were positive; in January we performed approximately 21,000 tests, of which 19% were positive; in February we performed approximately 15,000 tests, of which 13% were positive; in March we have performed approximately 9,000 tests, of which 7% were positive.