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COVID-19 Incident Command Center Update

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Command Center Update
Thursday, March 11, 2021 – 8:30 PM

"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in." - Haruki Murakami

One year. One virus. One world changed forever. In one steady swoop, COVID-19 swept through our lives, and in its wake, left a trail of disruption unlike any this world has ever seen. And when the dust storm landed in our hometowns, you – our healthcare team – courageously stepped into the darkness, linked arms with those of your team members, and cared for those hit hardest by the storm. How can anyone put enough gratitude into words for the sacrifices you’ve made in the line of duty? How can we ever reconcile so much loss in such a short period of time? We simply can’t. Your acts of bravery working on our units, in cafeterias, offices, laboratories, collection sites, laundry, and so many other places during uncertain times are simply unforgettable. Unimaginable. Unmatched. You are human and humans feel fear, but your courage when faced with a storm is what makes you a hero.

Thank you for your service, compassion, and unparalleled bravery. The person you were one year ago is gone. But today, in that person’s place, is a hero.

One-Year Commemoration Activities – Friday, March 12

This Saturday, March 13th, marks our one-year anniversary of when we opened our Command Center. Special recognitions will take place to honor the work we’ve accomplished, battles we’ve won, and people and team members we’ve lost over the last year. Please join us as we commemorate this momentous event in history with the following activities:

  • KD Employee Huddle at 10 AM: Join us for a special edition of our Employee Huddle filled with recognition and a recap of our last year.
  • Moment of Silence at 11 AM and 8 PM: While we have cared for our community, we have also cared for and lost four of our fellow health care team members. We have been forever changed by their loss and we will never forget the impact they made on our lives and want to take a moment to all remember. Join us for a moment of silence at 11 AM and 8 PM. If you’re in the Medical Center, listen for the overhead page signifying the start of our moment of silence.
  • Operation “Cookie”: Directors and managers will be picking up and distributing cookies to their teams at all campuses. Keep a look out for your sweet treat.
  • “Thank You” Banners: Banners will be posted throughout the district. Medical staff and employees are encouraged to sign the banners to help us recognize all our Kaweah Health heroes!

Face Protection

Our masking and PPE protocols have not changed. N95 masks and face shields are still required any time a team member is within six feet of a patient. Leadership continues to evaluate our masking protocols and will adjust appropriately. We cannot yet predict the effect of in-person schooling and changes in gathering and community masking as Tulare County moves into the Red Tier. Therefore, our PPE policies and protocols remain the same to protect our team and patients. Please see the attached flyer with more information about masking and face shields.

N95 Fit Testing Event

All employees, including Resident Physicians, who are required to wear an N95 respirator because they come within six feet of patients must attend a Special Mandatory Respiratory Fit Testing event. Fit testing events will take place on various dates at various campuses beginning March 23 through April 14. Employees and Resident Physicians are required to be fit tested, even if they were fit tested in October with their flu/TB testing. All team members will be fit tested with the Alpha Pro Tech and the 9205+, which is the most plentiful type of mask available at Kaweah Health. Below are dates and times for fit testing. Please make sure to bring your badge with you to the event.

DATE: TIME: PLACE:

March 23, Tues. 6:30 - 10:30am Main Campus/Blue room

March 25, Thurs. 6:30 - 10:30am Main Campus/Blue room

March 30, Tues. 6:30 - 10:30am Main Campus/Blue room

March 31, Wed. 6:30 - 9:30am West Campus/Bear room

April 1, Thurs. 6:30 – 10:30am Main Campus/Blue room

April 6, Tues. 6:30 - 9:30am South Campus/Conf. room

April 7, Wed. 7:30 - 10:30am VMC/basement lounge

April 14, Wed. 7:30 - 9:30am Exeter

Command Center Still Open

We are thrilled to report that the number of patients with COVID-19 in our care steadily declines day after day. Although our community has begun to make its way out of the pandemic, our COVID-19 Incident Command Center will continue to be open and available to respond to changes at the local, state, and national level. The pandemic has fortified our place as a healthcare leader in our community and people look to us for information, education, and reassurance. We will continue to lead the way and remain as a source of truth for our teams and community.

The Lifestyle Center Reopening

We are happy to announce that The Lifestyle Center will be re-opening next Wednesday, March 17. Gym members will be temperature checked upon entry and required to wear masks while in the facility. Saunas, spas, childcare, and court activities will not be available until a later date. These areas will become available as the county moves through the tiers of re-opening safely, as established by the Governor’s Office. A modified group exercise schedule will be added shortly after re-opening. Hours of operation will also be temporarily modified to 4:30 AM – 10 PM Monday through Friday, and 6 AM – 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Monthly billing for membership dues will begin again in April 2021; however, childcare fees will not be charged until that service is restored. Annual Facility Fees will resume on member anniversary dates beginning in August 2021. We are excited to re-open safely and look forward to seeing our gym members return.

Distance Learning at The Lifestyle Center

Kaweah Health has a permit to continue offering distance learning childcare services at The Lifestyle Center through April 20. To accommodate the fitness facility’s reopening next week, children have been moved to a secure area away from gym activities. Currently, there are 50 children in our care but this number has increasingly declined due to schools returning to in-person learning. As a result, we have notified parents that day camp childcare services will end on April 16. Thank you to our team for their invaluable contributions to this childcare service. You have made an incredible impact on the lives of your fellow team members and their children that won’t soon be forgotten.

Visitor Policy

We understand the importance of having a loved one with you during hospitalization and are taking measured steps to safely bring back visitors at our downtown campus for admitted patients. Restrictions are still in place but modifications to our policy will be coming in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more information as the plan evolves and our county moves into new tiers.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 3/11/2021)

We are happy to report a significant decrease in our inpatient positivity rate. Currently, Kaweah Health has 26 positive inpatients located in medical surgical beds throughout pods in our Mineral King Wing units, Labor & Delivery, Mother/Baby, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 3/11/2021)

Just as our inpatient positivity rates have declined, so have positivity rates for our team. Keep up your safety practices! Currently, Kaweah Health has 24 employees who are positive for COVID-19.

Command Center Update
Thursday, February 25 – 6:30 PM

"Courage above all things is the first quality of a warrior." - Carl von Clausewitz

Keep calm and carry on. That’s exactly what we did. Through all the uncertain, unprecedented, and unnerving times we faced, we dug deep into the core of who we are and stepped towards the fear-inducing unknown. Little did we know, we’d discover our strength, heroism, and an appreciation for the long-lost “normal” along the way. Now here we are nearly one year later… our courage worn in and our bodies worn out. Still we carry on, but now we do it with the composure of seasoned warriors – and that is exactly who we are.

Leaders. Fighters. COVID-19 combat survivors. Wear your badges with honor for you are the most honorable. You’ve suffered long but you kept calm and carried on with an eye on a purpose greater than who you are. Your trials are becoming triumphs, and together we slowly inch closer to the day after COVID. Keep calm, carry on, and keep the faith!

Welcome Home, Babies

We are thrilled to report that 6Tower has returned as the home of our NICU patients and team. Thank you to everyone who was involved in cleaning and converting the unit, and in transferring our tiny patients back to 6Tower. Although our NICU has returned to its pre-surge status, our Pediatrics unit is still operating as an overflow care area for adults who are not COVID-19 positive. Pediatric patients continue to be cared for on our Mother/Baby unit – an accommodation that is evaluated regularly.

Universal Masking – It Is All About The Fit

In response to the evolving CDC recommendations, our PPE Leadership Team has developed guidelines addressing double-masking for our team. Please note: PPE requirements have not changed; however, the universal masking policy has been updated in response to the media and community’s request for clarification on double-masking practices. Although double-masking is now permissible in specific work settings, it is NOT a requirement. See the attached flyer for more information about the updated guidelines listed below. We understand this new information may be confusing. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your leader for clarification.

  • If you are required to wear an N95, you are not permitted to double mask
  • If you wear a surgical mask, you are permitted to double mask with two surgical masks
    • Reminder: cloth masks are not permitted when working in patient care settings
  • If you are allowed to wear a cloth mask, you are permitted to double mask with:
    • One cloth mask and one surgical mask (the surgical mask should be worn under the cloth mask)
    • Two cloth masks
  • If you are allowed to wear a valve mask, you are required to wear a surgical mask over the valve mask
    • REMINDER: valve masks are not permitted when working in patient care settings

Patient and Team Volumes

It is safe to say that we have all been breathing heavy sighs of relief for the last few weeks as COVID numbers go down in our Medical Center and community. We are thankful to report stable inpatient volumes again this week. The number of patients with COVID-19 in our care has steadily decreased over the last few weeks, and so has the number of team members out with the virus or in quarantine. Keep up your safety practices! We get closer to “normal” every day.

Emotional PPE – Available to All Team Members

As healthcare workers, there are resources available to you through “The Emotional PPE Project”. The Emotional PPE Project connects healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can listen and help. All services provided through The Emotional PPE Project are free of charge and available to ALL Kaweah Health team members, clinical and non-clinical. There is no cost and no need for insurance to speak with trained professionals. The project provides a directory of contact information of volunteer mental health practitioners who are ready and available to help healthcare workers whose mental health has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To use these services, visit their website at https://www.emotionalppe.org/. Simply indicate that you are a healthcare worker affected by the COVID-19 crisis, select California as your state, and you’ll receive access to a list and biography of licensed professionals. Choose a provider and contact them directly. The process is easy and available to everyone on our team. More information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the website. You matter. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Self-Care Chats

Self-care, simply put, means caring for yourself. It includes anything you do to keep yourself healthy - physically, mentally, or spiritually. In a world of competing priorities, we must remember to prioritize our own health and wellness. To help support self-care, we will be offering 30-minute Self-Care Chats, where team members can share what has been working for them and any challenges. Pre-registration is not required. The GoToMeeting sessions are open to all Kaweah Health team members at 8AM, 12PM, and 10PM on the dates below (flyer attached).

  • Every Tuesday: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Join the KD Huddle on Friday, 2/26

The KD Employee Huddle returns on Friday, February 26 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for you to watch at your convenience.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 2/25/2021)

Once again, we are thrilled to report a decrease in our inpatient positivity rate. Currently, Kaweah Health has 59 positive inpatients located in medical surgical beds throughout pods in our Mineral King Wing units, Labor & Delivery, Mother/Baby, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 2/25/2021)

We continue to see significant improvement in our positivity rates and more staff returning from leaves of absence. Keep up your safety practices, team! Currently, Kaweah Health has 31 employees who are positive for COVID-19.

Command Center Update
Thursday, February 11 – 6:30 PM

"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." - Caroline Myss

Walk into any drugstore or pharmacy and you’ll find aisles lined with medication to help heal an endless list of ailments. When our body feels sick, we know to take medicine to feel better. But what if we are emotionally sick? What heals a tired soul? The medicine doesn’t sit on a shelf – it sits within you. We do not put off care for a broken bone, and we should not put off care for a broken soul. Your soul may not be visible, but it is every bit as important as the vessel that contains it. In the same way tired muscles or broken bones take time to heal, so does your soul after going through periods of extreme emotional or mental stress. Grant yourself grace and start doing at least one thing that brings you joy each day. There is power in intentionally seeking joy. And there can be healing when we make an effort to feel it. There may not be medicine to treat a tired soul but there is treatment. Line the aisles of your heart with bits of joy and soon you might start to feel better.

Emotional PPE

We have all been experiencing physical and emotional stress and are well aware of the PPE practices that will keep us physically healthy – but what about our emotional health? As has been said before, you cannot pour from an empty cup. We must protect our spirits just as vigilantly as we protect our bodies and everybody else. You are important, and as healthcare workers, there are resources available to you through “The Emotional PPE Project”. The Emotional PPE Project connects healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can listen and help. All services provided through The Emotional PPE Project are free of charge. There is no cost and no need for insurance to speak with trained professionals. The project provides a directory of contact information of volunteer mental health practitioners who are ready and available to help healthcare workers whose mental health has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To use these services, visit their website at https://www.emotionalppe.org/. Simply indicate that you are a healthcare worker affected by the COVID-19 crisis, select California as your state, and you’ll receive access to a list and biography of licensed professionals. Choose a provider and contact them directly. The process is easy and available to each person on our team. More information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the website. You matter. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Patient and Team Volumes

We’ve been down a long road and although we are not out of the woods yet, we can see a light shine through the trees. Whether the light remains is yet to be seen, but for now, we are thankful and relieved to report stable inpatient volumes. There is still a high census in the Medical Center, but the number of patients with COVID-19 in our care has steadily decreased over the last few weeks. As always, we are prepared for another surge and will keep our surge areas on Pediatrics and the NICU in place until volumes have further decreased and remain low. Regarding our team, we are again pleased to report that staffing has increased with team members returning from leaves of absence every day. We hope community and team vaccinations, good “outdoor activity” weather, and continued masking will help us avoid another surge.

Surgical Services

On Monday, February 1, we expanded surgical services to six inpatient procedures/possible admissions per day. We continue to closely monitor our service availability to ensure we have capacity for elective patients and patients needing medical and emergency care. Surgical services will increase slowly as patients with COVID-19 volumes decline. A second increase will begin next week when we add two more surgical service opportunities, bringing the total of procedures/ possible admissions to eight per day. Of note, only 75% of surgical procedures have resulted in hospital admissions since February 1, meaning only five out of eight patients will require hospitalization. Leadership is working to balance resources and allocate available beds as appropriate.

Don’t Get Comfortable with COVID-19

Our inpatient numbers have decreased and the Regional Stay At Home order has been lifted enabling us to resume a slightly more normal way of life; however, it is important for us to keep health and safety at the top of our minds. This includes using the proper PPE. Yes – we are feeling fatigued by nearly one year of practicing safety precautions but they are imperative to our health. Don’t get comfortable with COVID-19. Remain vigilant and do everything in your power to stay well so you can enjoy life as it picks back up again. Social distancing, wearing N95 masks in patient care settings, wearing surgical masks in all other settings, keeping gatherings small, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces often will help us heal. The “uncertain times” are not a thing of the past. We all play a vital role in the healing of our community and must recommit to using the proper PPE and practicing safety measures. Stay the course, stay healthy!

Red Friday – February 12

Join us in celebrating Red Friday by wearing the color red to work on Friday, February 12. By doing so, you are showing your support for heart disease awareness and American Heart Month. Submit your Red Friday department picture to Marketing at marketstaff@kdhcd.org by Monday, February 15. The collection of photos will be showcased on Kaweah Compass and Kaweah Health’s social media pages. Red Friday shirts are now available for purchase at Kaweah Korner.

Operation LOVE

Valentine’s Day treats provided by our local Rotary clubs will be available to pick up in the Acequia Wing Lobby on Friday, February 12 from 9AM – 11 AM. Although there will be 2,500 goodies for team, they will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Stop by the Acequia Wing to feel the LOVE!

Join the KD Huddle on Friday, 2/12

The KD Employee Huddle returns on Friday, February 12 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for you to watch at your convenience.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 2/11/2021)

We are thrilled to report a decrease in our inpatient positivity rate. Currently, Kaweah Health has 81 positive inpatients. These patients are located in medical surgical beds throughout pods in Mineral King Wing units, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 2/11/2021)

We continue to see significant improvement in our positivity rates and more staff returning from leaves of absence. Keep up your safety practices, team! Currently, Kaweah Health has 52 employees who are positive for COVID-19. The reduced number can largely be contributed to the usage of N95 masks by team members working in patient care settings. Soon, as more team members receive their second dose, we will see the positive impact of vaccination.

Command Center Update
Thursday, January 28 – 7:15 PM

"Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace." - Unknown

Picture a potted plant. This plant needs water. The leaves are wilted. The soil is dry and the roots are bunched together. The life is slowly leaving this living thing. Now think about what happens when you water this dry plant. The soil gets richer. The dirt expands. The roots stretch their limbs and the leaves reach for the sky. The water helps this plant sink a little deeper, and sit a little sturdier, in its pot. Now the plant has room to grow. It has room to come alive again.

For months and months, we were this dry plant – thirsty for a drop of hope that things would actually get better. As time crept on, we tried our best to stay upright and kept dreaming of a watershed. Look outside – at last, the rain has arrived! And with it comes our revitalization. The driest days are seemingly behind us. You made it through. You are still making it through. Life is slowly returning to you. Well done, my friend. Now you sit sturdier in your pot, held up by the strength of your limbs and rooted in the soil we’ve restored together. There is room to breathe now. And it’s time to reach for the sky.

Surge Update

We are relieved to report our inpatient volumes are currently stable and the decreased census has allowed us to partially return to normal inpatient placement practices. Patients requiring critical or ICCU-level of care are no longer being treated in the same area and are now being cared for in their respective units. For the time being, NICU babies will remain in their temporary overflow care area on Mother/Baby. Moving the team and their tiny patients is a very strenuous process. We do not want to disrupt their care until we are certain their home on 6Tower is no longer needed as an overflow patient care area. Regarding our team, we are pleased to report that staffing has increased thanks to the help of state directed staff assistance, the onboarding of new hires, and the return of team members out on leaves of absence. Additionally, we have been able to maintain resources and do not need to implement our disaster triage plans at this time. Click here to learn more about our Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines.

Resuming Limited Surgical Services

Thanks to reduced inpatient volumes in the Medical Center, we will begin expanding surgical services to six inpatient admissions per day beginning on Monday, February 1. We will continue to monitor our service availability closely to ensure we have capacity for elective patients and patients needing medical and emergency care. Surgical services will increase as patients with COVID-19 volumes decline.

Sharps Containers

Due to a manufacturer shortage, a different brand of sharps and pharmaceutical waste (blue/white) containers will be used on the units until the regular supply is available. Please see the attached flyer for examples of the substitute containers. For questions, please contact Environmental Services at 624-2244. Here is what you need to know:

  • McKesson will be used as the substitute manufacturer
  • The containers are OSHA compliant
  • The lids may have a hinge, circular-port, or slide open style
  • Please continue to follow standard procedure with waste disposal

N95 Masks

Our universal N95 masking policy remains in effect in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All team members working in patient care settings are required to wear N95 masks when delivering patient care. Command Center leadership thoroughly evaluates our PPE policy on an ongoing basis to ensure our practices align with the evolving pandemic and CDC recommendations. Please remember, replacement masks are available at any time if yours becomes soiled, damaged, wet, or compromised in any way. Please contact your manager/medical director for a replacement. If they are unavailable, contact the Command Center or the house supervisor.

No Double-Masking

Wearing two masks at one time is not permitted. Please do not double mask. Wearing two masks does not allow the bottom mask to seal properly, leaving team members at potential risk. The only exception to this rule is for masks with valves worn in non-patient care areas. If a mask with a valve is worn, then a surgical mask must be worn on top to cover the valve. Otherwise, please do not double mask. Additionally, please note that cloth masks are only acceptable in office settings and cannot be worn when working in patient care areas. Surgical masks are recommended and available over cloth masks. The recent comments made by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, were directed at members of the general public wearing cloth masks, not healthcare workers. N95 masks are not meant to be layered.

  • Visitors: We are allowing visitors to double-mask when in our facilities, as long as one of the masks worn is a surgical mask. Surgical masks are provided to all visitors in need upon entry.

Vaccine Update

Vaccine clinic dates will continue to be available for second dose vaccinations until all team members who received their first dose are fully vaccinated. We will begin offering vaccination to new hires and staff returning from leaves of absence on February 15, 2021; however, due to limited supplies and the unpredictable availability of vaccine, we are not certain when we will be able to offer those who chose to defer, decline, or did not indicate their vaccination preference. Please note, although there is no set date for first dose clinics at this time, vaccine supply volumes are increasing nationwide. Please know that you will be given the opportunity again as soon as more vaccines become available.

Join the KD Huddle on Friday, 1/29

The KD Employee Huddle returns on Friday, January 29 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for you to watch at your convenience.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 1/28/2021)

We are thrilled to report a decrease in our inpatient positivity rate. Currently, Kaweah Health has 115 positive inpatients. These patients are located in medical surgical beds throughout pods in Mineral King Wing units, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 1/28/2021)

We continue to see significant improvement in our positivity rates. Keep up your safety practices, team! Currently, Kaweah Health has 76 employees who are positive for COVID-19.

Command Center Update
Thursday, January 21 – 7:30 PM

"Even as we grieved, we grew. Even as we hurt, we hope. Even as we tired, we tried." - Amanda Gorman

No one promised life would be easy.

It’s actually really hard.

But hardness does not determine happiness.

It elevates it.

It sweetens it.

It appreciates it.

Without hardness, there is no softness.

And in the softness, there is life.

A friend’s hug.

A lover’s kiss.

A baby’s smile.

In these soft places, we come alive.

We find happiness in the hardness.

And we grow.

And we hope.

And we live.

So live.

Staffing Update

We have received some state directed staff assistance! On Sunday, January 17, we welcomed 21 members from the Army National Guard (ANG) for a brief orientation. These 21 individuals are split into two teams (12 and 9) and work in a group covering the entire week. This team is different from the Department of Defense (DOD) team that assisted us during the summer as they are not assigned care of patients in our units but will be in the units to help offload some of the work as able. The teams are comprised of a RN Officer in Charge (OIC), 7-9 EMT/techs, and 1-2 administrators. In addition, more state staffing assistance will be arriving soon including, CNAs, RNs, and respiratory therapists! We submit our requests for emergency resources to the state every week, not just for staff but supplies also, hoping they will be able to provide us with our needs. We continue to onboard our own permanent and traveler staff as well as have our own team members float to other areas in order to support patient care. We appreciate every person, clinical and non-clinical, making their way to new areas and expanding their capacity to care and support.

Team Vaccine Update

Wednesday, January 20 was the last day for team members to either choose, defer, or decline vaccination. The deadline was for individuals who had not yet engaged the registration process and does not apply to upcoming second dose appointments. Vaccine clinic dates will continue to be available for second dose vaccinations until all team members who received their first dose are fully vaccinated. Due to limited supplies and the unpredictable availability of vaccine, we are not certain when we will be able to offer those who are new to our organization, were on a leave of absence, or chose to defer, decline, or did not indicate their vaccination preference. Please know that you will be given the opportunity again when more vaccines become available; however, there is no set date at this time.

Community Vaccine Update

All vaccine appointments for Phase 1A eligible community members and individuals 65 and older at Tulare County Public Health Clinics are full. The County has indicated that more clinics and appointments will be added as soon as more vaccine becomes available. This is not a unique problem as many counties across our state also report limited or no remaining supply of vaccine. Thankfully, our partners at the County remain certain they will receive second doses for every person who received the first dose at their clinics or events. For more information about the County’s vaccination efforts, visit https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-vaccine/. Many heartfelt thanks to the Kaweah Health team members who assisted our county partners at the vaccination center in Tulare. We are proud of you and thank you!

Meditation/Quiet Room

Stress remains high as we continue in our fight against COVID-19 and remaining resilient is more important than ever. As part of our work to provide resiliency resources, we have temporarily repurposed some available space to create a small team Meditation/Quiet Room on the 2nd floor of the Mineral King Wing. It is now available for team member use. Learn more about the room by reading the Questions and Answers below.

  • How can the room be used? The room is intended as a dedicated quiet space for our team to unwind and decompress as needed. The room can be used for meditation, but also has additional resources to promote resiliency such as a sound machine, coloring supplies, and other self-care ideas! You may just need a moment to step away and sit for a moment.
  • Who can use the room? The room is open to all team members.
  • Are there any room rules? The room is intended for single person use for up to 10 minutes. Please do not eat or drink in the room.
  • Where is the room? The room is located in the old NICU Manager’s Office near 2South. When exiting the elevator, follow the sign and make a right after going through the door.
  • Are there any similar places I can go if the room is in use? The Medical Center Chapel on the first floor is another quiet space with resources to support your resilience.

Fabric Gowns and Towels

Team, please remember that fabric gowns and microfiber towels are not disposable and are intended for reuse. Please do not dispose of these reusable linen items. Fabric gowns and microfiber towels are to be washed and reused. Thank you for your help in preserving our supplies!

Water Fountains

The SARS CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19 infection spreads mainly through close contact from person-to-person through respiratory droplets coming in contact with the nose, mouth, or eyes of others, especially among people in less than six feet of distance from the infected. To reduce the risk of SARS CoV2 transmission, drinking fountains have been taken out-of-service throughout the District. This is a temporary measure, and when the pandemic has been controlled, drinking fountains will be thoroughly disinfected with a bleach solution and made to run for several minutes to clear the water system, making the drinking fountains safe and operational again. In the meantime, please consider using an alternative drinking water source currently available at your sites (i.e. ice machine/water dispenser and drinking cup). Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during these extremely challenging times.

The Halls Have Ears

As we carry out our business during the work day, we sometimes forget that our conversations are not always private. Please be mindful of your conversations around patients and their loved ones. Our community is very concerned about being exposed to COVID while at the hospital so our personal conversations need to remain private and professional at all times. Someone is always listening. Help us keep our teams and community calm by keeping conversations private.

Safety First

Infection prevention fatigue is real. We have been practicing heightened safety precautions for nearly a year so it is understandable to be tired by now. But, being tired does not mean carelessness is acceptable. We must remain cautious about our risk of exposure in the community and at work. As time ticks on, people become more and more burned out and take more risks with their health but COVID-19 is still contagious. It still causes serious complications in patients and people are still dying. It is still a threat in our community and hospital. Please stay firm in your resolve to protect yourself and others by taking every precaution to avoid contracting the virus and spreading it to others. Don’t let your guard down, most especially in patient care areas. Always wear the appropriate PPE and hope for the day when our community is better again.

Self-Care

COVID has not let go of its stronghold on us just yet. While we wait for its grip to loosen, please do not forget to take care of yourself. Self-care is not selfish. Be intentional about taking care of yourself while you work day-in and day-out caring for others. Your well-being is crucial to your family, our work family, and the community – and as a healthcare team, we are committed to compassionate care for one another. Anxiety, stress, and fear can cause strong emotions in children and adults, and learning to cope with these emotions is imperative to living well in the weeks ahead. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stressful circumstances and it is one of the most important qualities for working in healthcare. Let’s explore how anxiety and stress impact our health and how we can support our own resiliency and wellness during this ever-changing pandemic. We are stronger than we think we are, and we are better together.

Click here to read our Resources for Resiliency & Wellness. Password: CovidInfo2020.

Join the KD Huddle on Friday, 1/22

The KD Employee Huddle returns on Friday, January 22 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for you to watch at your convenience.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 1/21/2021)

We are thrilled to report a decrease in our inpatient positivity rate. Currently, Kaweah Health has 129 positive inpatients. These patients are located in medical surgical beds throughout pods in Mineral King Wing units, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 1/21/2021)

More exciting news… we are happy to state that we have had ZERO employees test positive within the last 24 hours! Currently, Kaweah Health has 97 employees who are positive for COVID-19.

Command Center Update
Thursday, December 3 – 9:30 PM

"What matters most is how well you walk through the fire." - Charles Bukowski

The number of COVID-19 positive cases has surged at an extraordinary rate over the last few weeks, as has the inner tension we may be feeling as healthcare workers. Yes, we are tired and trudging through a challenging time, but take heart in knowing the pandemic is just exactly that… it is one moment in time. Although it feels like we’ve been dealing with the pandemic forever, this time in our lives is only for now. We’re feeling the heat of the dumpster fire that is 2020 but let the flames forge our strength, not melt our resolve. Fight the fire around you by igniting the fire in your heart and look forward to the day when the smoke clears. On that day, you will know your true strength… a strength forged in fire and as hard as the strongest steel. You are stronger than you think you are and we are beating the heat together.

New Regional Stay Home Order

The Regional Stay Home Order, announced today by Gov. Newsom, will go into effect within 48 hours in regions with less than 15% ICU availability. It prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others. The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial three week period. The Regional Stay Home Order instructs Californians to stay at home as much as possible to limit the mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 spread. It allows access to (and travel for) critical services and allows outdoor activities to preserve Californians’ physical and mental health. This limited closure has been implemented in an effort to help stop the surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity. For more detailed information, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/.

Vaccine Update

In the United States, there is not yet an authorized or approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The federal government, through Operation Warp Speed, has been working since the pandemic started to make one or more COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as possible. There are two primary vaccines being released soon from biopharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna. The two-dose vaccines are in the third phase of clinical trials and will soon seek Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For Pfizer, this authorization is scheduled to take place on December 10, and shortly after Kaweah Health will receive its first supply of vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna have developed similar products, which are considered to be very safe. Reported side effects are comparable to those of the flu or shingles vaccine and may include local site reactions like a sore arm or redness, as well as fever and flu-like symptoms such as headache and body aches. Once a vaccine is approved, the State of California will distribute supplies to health systems first for frontline workers. Our Kaweah Health team has developed a multi-tiered plan for vaccine distribution across the District based on the number of vaccines we receive and the risk of exposure. Medical staff and employees will not be required to take the vaccine. Vaccinations will begin for Kaweah Health team members on December 14 pending the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine on December 10. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the CDC online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Visitor Policy Changes

As the pandemic and our response evolves, we are going to do everything in our power to continue allowing our patients to have visitors. We know visitors are an important part of the healing process and we are going to work very hard to allow our patients to have a loved one by their side. That being said, it is necessary to modify our policy again to protect our team and patients. For the time being, we will continue allowing visitors but must reduce visiting hours and restrict alternates. Please note, the decisions made by the visitor policy team are highly discussed and evaluated with extreme thoughtfulness. We are doing our best to address a very difficult situation for our patients and team. The visitor policy change will likely go into effect on Tuesday, December 8. More information will be available soon.

Surgery Volume Changes

Elective and non-emergent surgeries were drastically shut down when we first entered the pandemic earlier this year, but we have since resumed procedures and opened up full surgery capacity approximately 6-8 weeks ago. As with the visitor policy, the rise in COVID-19 cases has made it necessary for us to once again reduce the number of surgeries we perform. We will continue to provide surgical services for life- and limb-threatening conditions but will reduce cosmetic, orthopedic, and other surgical procedures that do not require immediate attention. The surgery volume reduction is being done to reduce the number of beds occupied by non-emergent cases, an essential part of our surge plans as the hospital continues to fill up with COVID cases. This change will be evaluated on a weekly basis. Thank you to our surgical team leadership, medical staff, and employees for your support and work to make this effort possible.

Outpatient Testing

The demand for testing continues to rise at extraordinary rates. Our clinics are doing their best to keep up with the calls but the quantity has overwhelmed our phone lines. To improve access, efficiency, and the patient experience, walk-in testing will longer be available and all outpatient testing will move to online scheduling, effective Monday, December 7. Online scheduling will allow our teams to more effectively manage the requests for testing while still providing care for non-COVID conditions at our clinics. The COVID-19 Hotline will remain active for community members who do not have access to the internet. Callers will need to leave a voicemail and will receive a call back from a member of our team to schedule. Appointment availability will increase week to week as we add more resources. Beginning Monday, appointments can be made online by visiting the Kaweah Health website at www.kaweahdelta.org. More information to be released soon.

Inpatient Testing
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our teams and patients, Kaweah Health Medical Center will begin testing all newly admitted patients on December 14. The risk of exposure is higher today than it was in July and we are making every effort to keep our teams and patients safe. The State has released general testing guidance for inpatients as well as team members. While Kaweah Health’s plan to test patients has been formalized, plans to test medical staff and employees are underway but have not been finalized. Learn more about the guidance released by the California Department of Public Health by reading the “All Facilities Letter” received on November 25 here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHCQ/LCP/Pages/AFL-20-88.aspx.

Surge Plans

The surge we expected in early spring never quite arrived; however, the same cannot be said for the winter surge which is rapidly arriving. Thankfully, our leadership team has not missed a step and we are prepared for whatever comes our way. Our surge plans are four-tiered and we are currently in Tier 1 making our move into Tier 2 by the end of the week. As our COVID positive and overall inpatient volumes increase, we will move into the various tiers where staffing considerations will need to be made such as returning non-bedside clinicians to bedside care. We are talking with the State about staffing needs should we exhaust all our resources and considering alternate care sites should our inpatient volumes reach levels beyond our capacity.

Glove Supply

Our glove supply continues to be a challenge making responsible use extremely important. Please make every effort to use gloves only when needed to perform essential job functions. Gloves are not required every time a patient room is entered and are not a replacement for proper hand hygiene and handwashing. Currently, we have about a 10 day glove supply on hand (pun intended) and we must continue doing our part to reduce waste and preserve supplies.

Paws For Healing

Our furry friends from pet therapy group, Paws 4 Healing, bring a smile to everyone’s faces. We know the positive impact these service animals have on our team; however, must pause their visits per the volunteer group’s request while we work through the surge of COVID-19 cases in our facilities and community. We look forward to the pet therapy’s team return to our campuses very soon.

We Are In This Together

As we expand our COVID units and the number of team members involved in COVID-positive patient care increases, it is important to remember that we are all in this together. Team members caring for COVID patients need our support and cheer, not our suspicion and fear. Each day, we all interact with people from various backgrounds and may not know if they are COVID positive, yet we treat them with respect and kindness. The same courtesy must be extended to our own team. If you see a staff member with a COVID unit printed on their badge, smile with your eyes and thank them for their service. Please do not turn away from them. We will only get through this if we stick together and frontline workers need our first rate support.

Join the KD Huddle on Friday, 12/4

The KD Employee Huddle returns on Friday, December 4 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for you to watch at your convenience.

·Registration Link:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8059961598802283787

·Webinar Audio:Listen via your device speakers or dial-in by phone using the number and attendee code below.

oPhone Number: +1 (562) 247-8422

oAttendee Code: 206-493-027 *All callers will be muted.

·Huddle Recording Archive: https://www.kaweahdelta.org/EmployeeInfo/KD-Employee-Huddle.aspx

oPassword: CovidInfo2020

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 12/3/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 79 positive inpatients. These patients are located in medical surgical beds throughout pods in Mineral King Wing units, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 12/3/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 550 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 425 have recovered and returned to work.

Command Center Update
Thursday, November 19 – 7:30 PM

"Faith is seeing light in your heart when all your eyes see is darkness." - Barbara Johnson

We’ve heard countless expressions of hope, encouragement, and perseverance this year, but we’re eight months in and the sounds of solidarity are likely falling on deaf ears now. It’s okay to be sick of the clichés if they feel empty and no longer comforting. But if you’re feeling depleted of hope, grant yourself grace and get back to the basics. Try hoping for hope. Just because you can’t see the light, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Our vision can blurry when we’re tired so don’t give up on your sight. There may not be healing in our community yet, but there is the dream of healing – and dreams are not on lockdown so let them carry you away. Hold vigil for your lost hope and take the light with you into the tunnel. Hope for hope on hopeless days.

An Ever-Changing Reality

If we’ve learned anything over the last eight months, it’s that things can change from one day to the next. We’ve had to be adaptable, quick on our feet, and patient with circumstances beyond our control. The last couple of weeks have proven once again the constant of change. As always, we continue to evaluate our policies on a daily basis to ensure we are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our team and patients. Although we hope for the best, we are prepared for whatever comes our way. Your dedication, strength, and endurance inspires us every day.

Holiday Gatherings

The rate of new COVID-19 infections has increased at an alarming rate in our community, state, and across the country – and with the holidays arriving in the very near future, our concern for the health and safety of our team and patients is at an all-time high. Traditionally this time of year is filled with busy preparations for holiday gatherings with friends and family, but it is imperative we remain vigilant to protect ourselves and slow the spread of COVID-19. To this end, Kaweah Health will not be permitting holiday staff gatherings where potluck-style food is shared and social distance cannot be properly maintained (e.g. potlucks in break rooms). Departments wishing to celebrate the holidays with food may only serve individually-wrapped goods to be eaten in areas where social distancing is possible. The decision to prohibit holiday staff gatherings was very hard to make but vital to the safety of our team. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation this holiday season.

Visitor Education

Thank you to all Kaweah Health team members for your support and effort in helping us make the visitor policy change a smooth transition for all. As you go about your day, please help us ensure visitors comply with the safety standards we have in place including washing hands often, wearing a mask, and remaining in patient rooms for the duration of the visit unless leaving for meals. Basic education delivered in a kind way can go far when dealing with others.

Updated Stoplight Report

Last month, we collected nearly 500 team member responses from our PPE survey. We sent this survey out to make sure our team members across the District know how to access and use PPE, and to explore any other ideas or concerns people might still have. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and spent time sending us your thoughts.

From the responses we received, we developed a Stoplight Report that will be routinely updated and included in the biweekly Command Center update. You all shared several ideas that we have taken into consideration by either exploring implementation or by making improvements in processes. Attached is a copy of the updated Stoplight Report addressing your concerns, as well as COVID-19 Screening Process, COVID-19 LOAs & Pay Quick Reference, and COVID-19 Testing & Triage Process. Thank you again for your ideas and suggestions. We are taking them seriously as we work to make changes.

Reusable Sanitizer Spray Bottles

Our supply of purple top wipes still remains extremely limited. In their place, we continue to use sanitizer spray bottles in all areas of the District. Please do not dispose of these bottles or the microfiber towels used for cleaning. The spray bottles and towels are not disposable and are intended for reuse. Please reach out to Environmental Services (ext. 2244) for spray bottles, towels, or to refill your unit/department’s supply. If you find you need more bottles and towels in your area, please let EVS know as well.

Mask Reminders

oNo Double Masking: Recently, we’ve seen individuals return to double-masking and it is important to remember that this practice is not permitted. Wearing two masks does not allow the bottom mask to seal properly, leaving team members at potential risk. The only exception to this rule is for masks with valves. If a mask with a valve is worn, then a surgical mask must be worn on top to cover the valve. Otherwise, please do not double mask.

oNo Cloth Masks in Patient Care Settings: Cloth masks are only acceptable in office settings and cannot be worn when working in patient care areas. Surgical masks are recommended and available instead of cloth masks. Please reach out to your manager or visit the Command Center for surgical mask replacements.

Join the KD Huddle on Friday, 11/20

In observance of Thanksgiving next week, the KD Employee Huddle will take place one week early and is scheduled for Friday, November 20 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. Did you miss last week’s huddle? No problem! All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for you to watch at your convenience.

·Registration Link:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8059961598802283787

·Webinar Audio:Listen via your device speakers or dial-in by phone using the number and attendee code below.

oPhone Number: +1 (562) 247-8422

oAttendee Code: 206-493-027 *All callers will be muted.

·Huddle Recording Archive: https://www.kaweahdelta.org/EmployeeInfo/KD-Employee-Huddle.aspx

oPassword: CovidInfo2020

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 11/19/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 33 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, and Pediatrics. The Medical Center also routinely cares for COVID-19 positive patients in Labor and Delivery and Mother/Baby.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 11/19/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 446 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 392 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized.

Command Center Update
Thursday, November 5 – 8:30 PM

"Real change in society must start from individual initiative." - Dalai Lama XIV

Our country is undoubtedly going through a time of unrest that will go down in history books. And while we wait for the final votes to be counted, many of us may be finding it hard to focus – but focusing on our power as individuals might be where we find our salvation. Every vote counts because every person does. You are powerful, and you claim your power when you focus on your individual impact and the advances you can make at home, work, and in the community. Step into your power, unburdened by what has been and what you can’t control. Do not carry the past with you into the future. Instead, focus on what can be. Focus on the advances you can make, unburdened by the setbacks you have experienced. No matter who wins this race, you still count and you can still make a difference. Take a breath, unburden yourself from your unrest, and embrace your power.

Glove Brands and PDI Wipes

Our teams have likely seen/used substitute glove brands in recent days. Although the glove brands may be different than ones we’ve previously purchased, please know that the quality remains the same. Glove colors may be different, but the protection they provide does not. All gloves are medical grade. As before, please continue to use PPE responsibly, making every effort to use gloves only when needed to perform job functions. Likewise, PDI wipes are slowly making their return. The brand may be new but the function remains the same as purple-top wipes. Our Procurement and Logistics team continues to work hard to procure vital PPE supplies and it is imperative we all do our part to reduce waste and preserve supplies.

Visitor Policy Change

On Monday, October 19, Kaweah Health Medical Center began allowing one unique visitor for patients who are not in isolation for COVID-19; other exceptions remain in place and are considered on a case-by-case basis. In general, the policy change has gone well. Among other requirements, visitors must wear masks for their entire visit but may sometimes forget to keep them on while in our facilities. Should you encounter a visitor not wearing a mask or not wearing a mask properly, please remember to approach them with kindness and empathy when reminding them to put on their mask. The health and safety of our patients and team remain our top priorities but our mission-based promise of compassion should remain at the heart of everything we do. Basic mask education delivered in a kind way can go far when dealing with others. Immense thanks to all of our medical staff and employees for their dedication, diligence, and empathy during this time of visitor policy transition. Leadership will soon be providing a detailed grid of visitor allowances for each Kaweah Health location to help our team better understand the policy adaptation across the District.

Reduce the Spread

COVID-19 is still a very real health threat in our communities. Lately, we have seen an increase in virus outbreaks and spread from family gatherings and church activities. New infections are most frequently associated with these two types of social events, making it increasingly important for each of our Kaweah Health team members to continue to act as leaders in the community by educating family and friends about the health risks associated with gatherings.

Masks in Conference Rooms

If a meeting is taking place in a conference room, please remember to practice social distancing and respect capacity restrictions. If there is less than 25% capacity in a conference room AND attendees are sitting at least six feet apart, masks may be removed while meeting. For rooms filled with more than 25% occupant capacity, masks must be worn by all attendees for the entirety of the meeting. As a reminder, the Acequia Wing Conference Room and the Blue Room in the Mineral King Wing basement are available as a break areas from 10AM-4PM during day shifts and 10PM-4AM during night shifts. The Multi-Service Center basement and auditorium also continue to be available as meeting spaces.

Next KD Huddle on 11/13

The KD Employee Huddle takes place on a bi-weekly basis and our next huddle is scheduled on Friday, November 13 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. Did you miss last week’s huddle? No problem! All huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons for team members to watch at their convenience.

Emergency Department Construction

Our ED expansion project is progressing and looking more amazing day-by-day. At this time of heightened ED patient-care activities in the Mineral King lobby, staff are requested to please refrain from walking through the lobby when going to and coming from areas on the west side of the Mineral King Wing. Instead of walking through the lobby, please take the alternate path and use the hallway along the Radiology area. Also, please use entrances away from the ED when entering/exiting the Medical Center to help us minimize traffic in this area as much as possible during the last few months of the expansion project.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 11/5/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 27 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, and Pediatrics. The Medical Center also routinely cares for COVID-19 positive patients in Labor and Delivery and Mother/Baby.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 10/22/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 388 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 361 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized.

Command Center Update
Thursday, October 22 – 8:30 PM

"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness." - Charles Spurgeon

Halloween takes place next week and kicks off the start of the holiday season for millions of people across the world. When we think of holidays, many of us picture festivities with extended family, an assortment of food, large group activities, and general merriment, but this year’s festivities will likely be quite different than those we’ve enjoyed before. This year, we will be forced to celebrate with less people, less food, and less activities but thankfully, there is no limit to the cheer we’re allowed to enjoy. Instead of grieving the temporary loss of our holiday traditions, let’s choose to be thankful for the chance we’ve been given to return to basics and step away guilt-free from the busyness that often accompanies the traditional holiday season.

In our e­fforts to plan perfect family gatherings, we sometimes forget that joy is simple, and a simple holiday doesn’t mean less joy. Holiday joy doesn’t need to be dressed up or primped to perfection. We can feel happiness during the pandemic just as much, if not more, than in the loudness of our pre-pandemic lives. Too many times, holiday prep and the pressure that comes with it causes us to lose focus. This year, center your eyes on your bubble of family of friends and remember what you have to be grateful for. If we learn anything during this time of social distancing, let’s hope we learn that bigger doesn’t always mean better – and smaller can still bring big joy.

Visitor Policy Change

We understand the importance of having a loved one with you during hospitalization and are taking measured steps to safely bring back visitors at our downtown campus for admitted patients. On Monday, October 19, Kaweah Health began allowing one unique visitor for patients who are not in isolation for COVID-19; other exceptions remain in place and are considered on a case-by-case basis. Visiting hours are from 8AM-8PM and all visitors must be screened at the Acequia Wing Entrance by 6PM. In general, the policy change has gone well with many staff members reporting relief over the reduction in phone calls they must make throughout the day.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When patients must undergo procedures in their room, visitors are allowed to wait in common lobby areas until the procedure is complete and they are permitted to return to the patient’s room.

Holiday Gatherings

COVID-19 still poses a significant risk to our team and community and we must all do our part to reduce the spread. In an effort to keep our teams safe, Kaweah Health will not be permitting holiday staff gatherings this year. We understand that holidays are a special time for many people and that gatherings help build team rapport and friendship; however, the risks gatherings bring with them are too high this year to allow our teams to participate. That being said, holiday fun can still take place in other ways! Use your creativity and discuss options with your teams… Secret Santa, an ugly mask contest, or an Elf on the Shelf are fun and safe ways to enjoy the holidays at work.

Single Use Isolation Gowns

We are thrilled to announce we will soon be returning to single-use gowns. The PPE change will go into effect on Tuesday, October 27 in most areas of the District. We will be using fabric and disposable single-use gowns, and expect our supply to increase again next week after a shipment arrives. Please note, we are working hard to evaluate other single-use PPE opportunities. Leadership is actively evaluating our supplies and processes, including a potential move to single-use N95s. Stay tuned for more information in the weeks to come.

*NEW DATE* COVID-19 Testing Event

Sincere apologies are due to team members and their friends and family who visited the drive-thru testing event we shared about in the last update. The event date was changed after the update was delivered and we missed the opportunity to update our team when the date was rescheduled. For those still interested in attending, the COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing event date has been confirmed and will take place this Saturday in Visalia. In partnership with Tulare County Public Health, Visalia Unified School District, and Neighborhood Church, Kaweah Health is proud to co-sponsor this community drive-thru testing event for local residents. Basic nasal swabs can be performed on adults and children, and there are no out-of-pocket costs for anyone receiving services. No appointments are required and all are welcome to attend.

·Date and Time:Saturday, October 24 from 10AM – 2PM

·Location:Neighborhood Church – 5505 W. Riggin Ave, Visalia, CA 93291

Meal Time in Conference Rooms

The Acequia Wing Conference Room is available as a break area from 10AM-4PM during day shifts and 10PM-4AM during night shifts. Due to the 25% room capacity rule when people are unmasked and eating, the AW Conference Room can only fit 12 team members max at one time. The Blue Room will also remain available as a break area and will be open during the 10-4 hours of day and night shifts as well. Looking to the future, we are planning for cold weather and the need for more break areas inside our facilities. Various break area options are being considered, including the use of plastic dividers. More updates will be provided as they become available. All team members who feel they do not have access to a convenient and safe break area are encouraged to contact Jon Knudsen at JKnudsen@kdhcd.org for help.

Meeting Room Capacity

The meeting room capacity for rooms that are back online has increased to 50% capacity; however, room occupants must remain masked during the entirety of the meeting. Please note, rooms being used as break/meal areas will remain at 25% capacity.

PPE Survey Questions Under Review

Thanks again to everyone who took time to complete the PPE Survey! We are reviewing your questions, addressing your concerns, and remain committed to supporting your needs. Your experiences and insight are helping us make decisions about PPE, and we appreciate you speaking up and submitting your questions. Your feedback is helping us better understand any challenges you may be facing with PPE processes and availability. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience with us!

Flu Shot Clinics Ending Soon

There is only one week left to get your flu shot at a KD flu shot clinic! Employee Health Services has hosted events on various campuses throughout October and the last one is scheduled on Friday, October 30. Don't miss your chance to get your flu shot and risk the possibility of a dual infection with COVID-19. Log in to Kaweah Compass with your KD credentials to view the complete list of dates, times, and locations: bit.ly/KDFluShot.

Next KD Huddle on 10/30

The KD Employee Huddle takes place on a bi-weekly basis and our next huddle is scheduled on Friday, October 30 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. As always, huddles are posted online on Friday afternoons for all to watch at their convenience.

·Registration Link:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8059961598802283787

·Webinar Audio:Listen via your device speakers or dial-in by phone using the number and attendee code below.

oPhone Number: +1 (562) 247-8422

oAttendee Code: 206-493-027 *All callers will be muted.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 10/22/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 19 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, and Pediatrics. The Medical Center also routinely cares for COVID-19 positive patients in Labor and Delivery and Mother/Baby.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 10/22/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 388 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 361 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized.

Command Center Update
Thursday, October 8 – 8:00 PM

"For all that has been—thanks. For all that will be—yes." - Dag Hammarskjöld

As the heat of the summer slowly fades into our past, so do the memories of our hardest days working through the pandemic. As you fall forward into a refreshing new season, take a minute to stop and appreciate the challenges you overcame on your journey to where you are today. Often times, the painful memories are the ones we play over and over in our heads but be intentional about the direction of your thoughts and focus your mind on the joyful memories that remain. Lean into the memories of your victories and let them hold you up on days when you feel like you just can’t win. Remembering where we came from can empower us on the way to where we’re going – so pat yourself on the back for a job well done because you made it through the hardest days. The season has changed and the leaves will soon follow, but your win is forever and nothing will change the fact that YOU OVERCAME!

Attitudes Change, COVID-19 Doesn’t

While we are thrilled by the low number of COVID-19 positive patients in the Medical Center, we must remain cautious about our risk of exposure in the community and at work. COVID-19 is still contagious. It still causes serious complications in patients and people are still dying. It is still a threat in our community and hospital. Please stay firm in your resolve to protect yourself and others by taking every precaution to avoid contracting the virus and spreading it to others. Don’t let your guard down, most especially in patient care areas. As time goes on, people are becoming more and more burned out and will begin taking more risks with their health. Flu season is right around the corner and now is the time to re-establish good safety practices for our own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others.

Battelle Contract Has Ended

We have decided to no longer continue our contract with Battelle, the applied science and technology company that decontaminates N95 masks for reuse. We will no longer be collecting used N95 masks and the green collection bins will soon be removed from our units. In total, Battelle returned roughly 2,000 decontaminated masks, which we will store as a precautionary measure in the event of a supply shortage. This is disaster planning to help us prepare if problems with supplies resurface. No masks have yet to be reused after cleaning and we continue to search for a steady N95 supply chain and purchase new masks as much as possible.

Rapid Community Testing

Kaweah Health is proud to offer safe, secure, and fast COVID-19 testing to all community members, regardless of symptoms. Nasal swab tests with same-day result delivery are now available at our Rural Health Clinics in Exeter, Lindsay, and Dinuba with more locations coming soon. Tests can be performed on adults and children, and are available to all symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Walk-up tests are performed by appointment only and there are no out-of-pocket costs for anyone receiving services. More information can be found here: www.kaweahdelta.org/rapidtesting.

Co-Sponsored COVID-19 Testing Event

In partnership with Tulare County Public Health, Visalia Unified School District, and Neighborhood Church, Kaweah Health is proud to co-sponsor a community drive-thru testing event for local residents. Testing is free and available to all symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Same-day results will also be available!

  • ·Date and Time:Saturday, October 17 from 10AM – 2PM

  • ·Location:Neighborhood Church – 5505 W. Riggin Ave, Visalia, CA 93291

Glove Brand Review

Our glove supply continues to be a challenge making responsible use extremely important. Please make every effort to use gloves only when needed to perform job functions. While our Procurement and Logistics team works hard to acquire vital PPE supplies, we must continue doing our part to reduce waste and preserve supplies.

Visitor Restrictions

Changes to our visitor restriction policy will be coming our way soon! Beginning on Monday, October 19, Kaweah Health will allow ONE visitor per non-COVID positive patient to enter the Medical Center during daytime visiting hours; other exceptions currently in place will remain in effect. All visitors will be screened before entry and required to wear masks. We know the positive impacts visitors have on patients but must also remain cognizant of the risks they bring with them as we move forward with policy changes. More details will be available soon.

Flu Shot Clinics

Employee Health Services kicked off the annual flu shot clinics for all team members this week! Flu clinics will be hosted on various KD campuses throughout October. The pandemic makes getting the flu shot even more important this year. Get yours and don't risk the possibility of a dual infection with COVID-19.Log in to Kaweah Compass with your KD credentials to view the complete list of dates, times, and locations: bit.ly/KDFluShot.

Next KD Huddle on 10/16

The KD Employee Huddle takes place on a bi-weekly basis and our next huddle is scheduled on Friday, October 16 at 10AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. As always, huddles are posted online on Friday afternoons for all to watch at their convenience.

THANK YOU! COVID PPE Survey

Many thanks to everyone who took time to complete the PPE Survey. Your feedback is valued, appreciated, and being reviewed to help us better understand any challenges you may be facing with PPE processes and availability. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience with us!

Give Blood, Give Life

Join us this Friday, October 9 at the annual fall blood drive. Blood supplies are at a low and Central California Blood Center needs our help. All donors will receive a coupon book and a chance to win 1 of 3 fall fun gift baskets! To register or read more about how to successfully donate, visit www.kaweahdelta.org/blooddrive.

  • ·Date and Time:Friday, October 9, 2020 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

  • ·Location:Kaweah Health Multi-Services Center, 402 W. Acequia Ave, Visalia 93291

  • ·Required:Photo ID, must include photo and full name

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 10/8/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 22 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 10/8/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 376 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 347 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized

Command Center Update
Thursday, September 24 – 7:30 PM

Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. - Oswald Chambers

Let’s just come out and say it: we are in this for the long haul. It is the truth we avoid saying out loud in hopes of keeping our COVID-19 reality at bay. This race is not a sprint. We’re running a cross-country marathon with a changing track and moving finish line. How are we supposed to keep going, stay motivated, and cross the finish line? The answer is simple: we’ll do it by taking one… step… at… a time. All you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. Give yourself an edge by trying not to worry about next year, next month, or next week. Worry only for today and the steps you’ll take to get through this leg of the race. A positive attitude helps us find peace in our present struggles but don’t be hard on yourself when you have a bad day. You’ll get a chance to take another step tomorrow. Remember: even if you’re walking slow, you’re still walking forward. And that’s good enough for today.

CC Updates Now Bi-Weekly

The COVID-19 Incident Command Center is still in place and fully functioning; however, smooth and effective operations, as well as a reduced number of COVID-19 inpatients in the Medical Center, no longer require a weekly update. Going forward, the Command Center Update will be delivered on a bi-weekly basis with the next update scheduled on Thursday, October 8. Thank you for your amazing work fighting COVID-19! We are getting better together.

Future Days: Vaccines and Work To Come

We experienced an increase in COVID-19 inpatients and COVID-19 positive employees this week. Although our numbers are far from our record highs, these increase drive home a sobering fact: our work is not done. The World Health Organization reports that we are still 4-5 months away from an approved COVID-19 vaccine and likely 12-18 months away from our nation’s population receiving widespread vaccinations. If these numbers remain the same, then Tulare County is 18-24 months away from full inoculation. This is not the news we want to hear when our numbers are lower and operations are stable but it is an important reminder of the virus’ persistent threat to our wellbeing. COVID-19 is still contagious. It still causes serious complications in patients and people are still dying. It is still a threat in our community and hospital.

Help us avoid a surge by continuing to stay safe at home and at work and reminding others to do the same. Don’t let your guard down, most especially in patient care areas. Our hospital and community cannot afford to backtrack and close down again. As time goes on, people are becoming more burned out and will begin taking more and more risks with their health. Flu season is coming and we may face tough times again, but we will remain poised to ramp operations back up when that times comes. Do you have ideas that will help reinvigorate and motivate our team to stay diligent and positive? Share them with others! In good times and bad, we are in this together.

Holiday Season

Halloween kicks off the start of the holiday season. As before, we are not asking team members to quarantine and not travel but we are asking everyone to use caution and make wise decisions to protect your health and safety. Plan ahead and travel smart to avoid situations that might increase your risk of exposure as much as possible.

Handwashing vs. Hand Sanitizer

The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. If hand sanitizer is unavailable in your area, please make sure to wash your hands often. Hand sanitizer is great but washing your hands is better!

Glove Brand Review

The Procurement and Logistics team continues doing an amazing job supplying our teams with vital PPE supplies. In this effort, the team has purchased and distributed various types of glove brands. Please evaluate the brand performance as you carry out your job duties and share your review with the P&L team. New glove types are being ordered and your input will help us identify the best brands we should be re-purchasing. Send your review to Steve Bajari, Director of Procurement and Logistics at sbajari@kdhcd.org. Thank you!

Visitor Restrictions

There are no changes to report concerning the visitor restriction policy this week; however, the policy evaluation team will begin gathering again to determine how the policy could become less restrictive in a safe and compassionate way. We know the positive impacts visitors have on patients but must remain cognizant of the risks they also bring with them. Visitors will not return in the same manner as the pre-COVID era, but we will begin making moves to allow some back.

KD Huddle Now Bi-Weekly

The KD Employee Huddle now takes place on a bi-weekly basis and our next huddle is scheduled on Friday, October 2 at 10:00 AM. All questions are welcomed – COVID-related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the broadcast. Can’t join the live event? No problem – the huddle recording and transcript are posted online on Friday afternoons.

LAST CHANCE! Take the COVID PPE Survey

Your feedback is valued and important! Please take the COVID PPE survey to help us gather information about our use of PPE at Kaweah Health. It only takes a few minutes to complete this meaningful survey and your responses help us better understand any challenges you may be facing with the rapid changes to our PPE processes and availability. Thank you for sharing with us!

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 9/24/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 32 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 9/24/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 367 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 336 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized.

Command Center Update
Thursday, September 17 – 7:45 PM

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

You aren’t the same person you were in March. The world isn’t the same. At times, we may have felt as if life was standing still, but it never was. Life only moves forward. Time ticks on regardless of illness or quarantine. A new day arrived with each rising of the sun and we slowly grew into the people we are today. Are you the person you hoped to be after quarantine? Be kind to yourself when answering that question, but remain stern in your resolve to be better than you were yesterday. The pandemic evolves, and so do we. We do not stay the same. And when we grant ourselves the freedom to move, to grow, to transform… good things can happen. Welcome the goodness – welcome the person you hope to be. It’s so nice to meet you.

Take the COVID PPE Survey

Your feedback is valued and important! Please take the COVID PPE survey to help us gather information about our use of PPE at Kaweah Health. It only takes a few minutes to complete this meaningful survey and your responses help us better understand any challenges you may be facing with the rapid changes to our PPE processes and availability. Thank you for sharing with us!

·Survey Link:bit.ly/PPE-Pulse-Survey

Asymptomatic Testing

Last week we shared information about three county sites set up through OptumServe and the state for asymptomatic testing in Dinuba, Porterville, and Tulare. We stated that anyone can go and be tested; however, the link to schedule (https://lhi.care/covidtesting) did not work appropriately and prevented people with no symptoms from scheduling an appointment. The county is now aware of this issue and is working to resolve the technical difficulty as soon as possible. Appointments can still be made by calling 1-888-634-1123.

Floral Site Closure and Expanded Testing

The testing site on Floral Street has officially closed and the area is once again available for street parking. Immense thanks to each department and team member who made the site a successful and valued testing resource in the community. In related news, we are working to expand testing across the county at our Rural Health Clinics, beginning in Exeter on Monday, September 14. Since its launch, the Exeter testing site has tested more than 100 patients. Testing sites in Dinuba and Lindsay will go-live within the next two weeks. Additionally, Visalia Medical Clinic is also testing patients.

Visitor Restrictions

Having to implement and enforce the visitor restriction policy continues to be the most difficult aspect of our COVID-19 response. Although this policy was thoughtfully developed to help us increase the safety of our patients and team, enforcement causes much emotional stress for patients and families. The stress is also felt by our team members who must work as the link between patients and their families, who rely on us to keep them updated on patient care and connected to their loved ones each day. Although the visitor restriction policy remains in place, we are actively reviewing the processes to streamline communication. Expanding visitation is a regular topic of discussion but not something our organization is ready to implement yet. We must be methodical and do what’s right to preserve the safety of our patients, team, and community. More recommendations will be available soon.

Equipment Damages

Please do not spray equipment with cleaning spray. The proper cleaning procedure is to spray the towel and then to wipe equipment. Unfortunately, we have experienced an increase in damage to equipment due to cleaning spray being sprayed directly on instruments. Help us reduce damage by spraying towels, not equipment

PPE Update

You are PPE preservation rock stars! Thank you for your diligence and commitment to responsible PPE use. We are currently exploring the option of returning to single use gowns and will be implementing a pilot program using fabric gowns to determine our daily use number. We do not have this number now due to the long period of time we’ve been practicing extended PPE use. The pilot program will take place on 2South and will help us determine the number of gowns we use per shift. This number will also be applicable to N95 use and will allow us to make the best PPE decisions possible. Please continue your responsible use of PPE and help us educate team members who are less familiar with our current PPE grids/guidelines. We have processes in place for COVID and non-COVID patients with various illnesses.

Statement from Medical Executive Committee

COVID-19 has forced us to change our practices and procedures for many months. But thanks to the responsible use of PPE and a decreased COVID-19 positivity rate, Kaweah Health is able to modify its practices to better suit the current pandemic climate and better serve our patients. We have the PPE we need to care for patients in all circumstances and a COVID-19 diagnosis no longer limits safe procedures, exams, and placement within the hospital. To this point, the Kaweah Health Medical Executive Committee released the statement below, further establishing that the limitations we worried about at the beginning of the pandemic no longer hinder the care we can safely deliver. PPE is available and anyone can access needed PPE from Central Supply or their units.

·Official statement from the Medical Executive Committee:

o“The Medical Executive Committee has determined that, in accordance with evidence-based guidelines, procedures can be safely performed on COVID-positive inpatients when physicians and staff use appropriate PPE. If a procedure is indicated on an inpatient, the patient’s COVID status is not a reason not to defer the procedure. However, other clinical factors should be taken into account to determine whether a procedure is right for a particular patient, and those factors should be appropriately documented in the medical record if a procedure is canceled or delayed.”

Temperature Screening

Every Kaweah Health team member is required to undergo a temperature screening upon arrival to work. Please remember to sign the log sheet using your first AND last name and to complete the symptom section. Daily temperature screenings at work do not replace the need to self-monitor at home prior to reporting to every shift. If your department/area/unit is in need of a thermometer, please reach out to Amy Baker at AmRodrig@kdhcd.org.

KD Huddle Moving to Every Other Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle will now take place on a bi-weekly basis. Join us on Friday, September 18 at 10:00 AM and then every other week thereafter to hear answers to your most in-demand questions. All questions are welcomed – COVID related or not. Email your questions to Deborah Volosin (dvolosin@kdhcd.org) or use the chat feature during the live broadcast. Huddles are recorded and posted online on Friday afternoons.

·Registration Link:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8059961598802283787

·Webinar Audio:Listen via your device speakers or dial-in by phone using the number and attendee code below.

oPhone Number: +1 (562) 247-8422

oAttendee Code: 206-493-027 *All callers will be muted.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 9/17/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 27 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 9/17/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 352 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 329 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 team member numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, September 22.

Command Center Update
Thursday, September 3 – 7:15 PM

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." - Bob Marley

Sometimes life can be so unbelievably unfair. People die, jobs are lost, and hearts are broken every day. At times, the harsh realities of our mortal existence can be too much to bear. And when the wind gets knocked out of you, it can be hard to imagine the moment you’ll be able to catch your breath again. Even the most hopeful and resilient person might ask how it’s possible to see the light when the darkness is as black as night. If an easy answer existed, certainly there would be less heartache in the world – but heartache is an inescapable part of life. So what are we to do? Sometimes our only choice is to just… keep… breathing.

Just keep moving.

Just keep hoping.

Just keep living.

Not every story has a happy ending, but the ending isn’t the point of life. The point is the story that is written along the way… the babies that are born, the friends that are made, and the family that survives. Darkness does not consume the light – darkness defines it. And you choose whether to see it.

Take a breath… and choose to see it.

Temperature Screening

Daily temperature screenings in non-patient care areas went into effect on Tuesday, September 1. Every Kaweah Health team member – including employees, leadership, and medical staff – is now required to be temperature screened upon arrival to work. To accomplish this, thermometers and log sheets have been distributed across the District with more thermometers being delivered next week. Please remember to sign the log sheet using your first AND last name and to complete the symptom section. Any team member who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home immediately and is required to call Employee Health for instructions. If you feel the need to cool down from the outside heat before submitting for a screening, you will be allowed to do so for one to two minutes before your temperature is taken. Please remember daily temperature screenings at work do not replace the need to self-monitor at home prior to reporting to every shift. If your department/area/unit is in need of a thermometer, please reach out to Amy Baker at abaker@kdhcd.org.

Patient Numbers

We are happy to report that the number of COVID-19 positive inpatients in the Medical Center remained between 35-40 patients this week. Although these patients are primarily receiving care on 2South, ICU, and ICCU, we have been serving others in Peds, Mother/Baby, Labor & Delivery, and CVICU. Fortunately, we have not seen outbreaks occurring in our patient care units and hospital operations remain under control. These are great signs showing the positive results of our prevention measures including the proper use of PPE and staying home from work when sick. More team members return from leaves of absence each day, helping us carry on during the pandemic and care for patients in the Medical Center which remains at 90% capacity. Keep up the great work! The Labor Day holiday and flu season are coming up and your continued dedication is essential to the health of our community and organization.

Some Meeting Rooms Returning

Meeting spaces will soon be available for scheduling with more coming back online as we continue working our way through the pandemic. The Multi-Service Center basement is now available as a meeting space and we hope to have the auditorium online within the next three weeks. The Blue Room in the Mineral King Wing basement continues to function as a break area but if a need to reserve the space arises, please contact Keri Noeske at knoeske@kdhcd.org.

N95 Mask Collection – Battelle Reprocessing

Please do not dispose of used N95 masks. Please place them in the green collection cans placed on all units. We are continuing to collect N95 masks to send to Battelle for decontamination. Battelle is an applied science and technology company that cleans N95 masks for reuse using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide – scientifically proven to effectively kill the COVID-19 virus. Your safety is our priority, which is why we have chosen to use Battelle’s sterilization process – the ONLY sterilizing process approved by the FDA. This advanced cleaning system can decontaminate the same respirator multiple times without degrading N95 respirator performance, elongating the life of our PPE – a critical component of our COVID-19 response as the country continues experiencing a surge and supplies become more difficult to obtain. IMPORTANT NOTE: Right now, we are only collecting, cleaning, and storing N95 masks as a precautionary measure in the event of a supply shortage. This is disaster planning to help us prepare if problems with supply resurface. No masks have yet to be reused after cleaning and we continue to search for a steady N95 supply chain and purchase new masks as much as possible. On a positive note, thanks to an adequate supply of PPE, N95 mask distribution has increased to one mask per shift for team members required to wear N95 masks in their roles, we are no longer rotating masks for two weeks in any areas. N95s are still only used for designated situations and areas.

Join The Huddle on Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place on Friday, September 4 at 10:00 AM. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

Labor Day Surge

Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic, we have experienced a surge in positive cases and hospitalizations after holidays and anticipate the same to happen after Labor Day (September 7). As always, we are planning ahead and are prepared for an influx of patients should a surge take place. Staffing increases and Command Center operations remain in effect and we feel confident in our teams and resources to handle what may come our way. Please take every precaution this holiday weekend to protect others and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We should all do our best to diligently stick to health guidelines, practice social distancing, wear masks, keep gatherings on a small scale, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often. Be mindful of washing your hands, refraining from potluck-style meals, and embracing others without masks on. Yes – we are feeling fatigued by months of practicing these safety precautions but they are imperative to our health. Follow Kaweah Health on social media for tips and to help us spread the word about responsible celebration behaviors over the Labor Day weekend.

Kaweah Compass

Have you visited our new intranet yet? Kaweah Compass is live and available by opening up Internet Explorer on your KD computer. Kaweah Compass is your one-stop guide to resources, news, and information – providing quick, relevant, and date sensitive information in one place. Features of the new intranet include Compass Now, a digital message board similar to District Daily, and an anniversary section where we can celebrate and recognize our fellow team members.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 9/3/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 37 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU and Mother Baby.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 9/1/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 341 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 302 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 team member numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, September 8.

Command Center Update
Thursday, August 27 – 8:30 PM

Today, we celebrated and bade farewell to the Department of Defense team after six weeks of fantastic partnership. Twenty-one members of our country’s finest service men and women joined our team and fought alongside us against COVID-19. With their support, we survived our darkest days and developed lasting friendships that will continue for time to come. Simply put, the DoD team helped us help our team and community.

Help. There are several interpretations of this verb but the one that most poignantly describes our DoD partnership is: to make more bearable. They helped us carry the load. And in times of struggle, there is nothing more reassuring than knowing someone has your back. Today we saluted our military team, but every day we are honored to salute you. We still got your back.

Temperature Screening

Thermometers have arrived, allowing us to move to phase two of the daily temperature screening practice, which includes screening team members in non-patient care areas. Daily temperature screenings in patient care areas began in mid-July. Thermometers were made available for pick-up during Wednesday’s weekly mask distribution. Soon, every Kaweah Health team member – including employees, leadership, and medical staff – will be temperature screened upon arrival to work. Projected go-live date for all non-patient care areas is Tuesday, September 1. Any team member who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home immediately and is required to call Employee Health for instructions. If you feel the need to cool down from the outside heat before submitting for a screening, you will be allowed to do so for one to two minutes before your temperature is taken. Please remember daily temperature screenings at work do not replace the need to self-monitor at home prior to reporting to every shift. If your department/area/unit is in need of a thermometer, please reach out to Amy Baker at abaker@kdhcd.org.

Cloth Masks vs. Surgical Masks

Surgical masks are recommended and available for all departments/units. Cloth masks are acceptable in office settings but are not allowed in patient care areas. Although cloth masks are allowed in non-patient care areas, surgical masks are preferred in environments where others may be unmasked at any point. Surgical masks are designed to keep particles from going in and out… something cloth masks cannot guarantee. Cloth masks are good for public use when you are not near others for a prolonged period of time. Those of you who have yet to try a surgical mask may be pleasantly surprised with how light and breathable they are compared to cloth masks. Here’s a quick summary: surgical masks are available for all team members; cloth masks are not allowed in patient care areas; surgical masks provide better protection and are surprisingly comfortable to wear.

Patient Numbers

We are happy to report that the number of COVID-19 positive inpatients in the Medical Center dipped down into the 30s and 40s this week. This has been a welcomed development but we continue keeping our eyes open and remaining at the ready should we experience another increase. The Labor Day holiday is coming up and some students have returned to school in group settings so we are keeping an eye out for trends over the next couple of weeks. Additionally, non-COVID-19 patient volumes in our care, from clinics and urgent cares to our mental and rehab hospitals, have steadily increased throughout the District. The Medical Center is busy as well. Patients are certainly coming back for care and we are happy to see things going well in all areas.

Labor Day Surge and Messaging

Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic, we have experienced a surge in positive cases and hospitalizations after holidays and anticipate the same to happen after Labor Day (September 7). As always, we are planning ahead and are prepared for an influx of patients should a surge take place. Staffing increases and Command Center operations remain in effect and we feel confident in our teams and resources to handle what may come our way. Follow Kaweah Health on social media and help us spread the word about responsible celebration behaviors over the Labor Day weekend. Strategic messaging will be rolled out next week heading into Labor Day (September 7) and we encourage you to share it with your family and friends. Help us educate others to keep our community safe and keep us from experiencing a surge in patients. Knowledge is power and knowledge shared is power multiplied!

CORRECTION: COVID-19 At Home

In last week’s update it was stated that team members living with someone awaiting test results will likely be quarantined until test results arrive to reduce the risk of exposure if results return positive; however, this statement is incorrect. Team members living with someone awaiting test results will not be quarantined during the waiting period and will be allowed to continue working. If test results return positive, then quarantine may be necessary.

Join The Huddle on Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place on Friday, August 27 at 10:00 AM. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 8/27/2020)

Currently, Kaweah Health has 40 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, and CVICU. *COVID-19 positive cardiac surgery patients needing cardiovascular intensive care for recovery are cared for in isolation rooms available in the Acequia Wing.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 8/24/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 337 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 280 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 team member numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, September 1.

Command Center Update
Thursday, August 20 – 7:00 PM

"It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it." - Lena Horne

Keep calm and carry on. That’s exactly what we did. Through all the uncertain, unprecedented, and unnerving times we faced, we dug deep into the core of who we are and stepped towards the fear-inducing unknown. Little did we know, we’d discover our strength, heroism, and an appreciation for the long-lost “normal” along the way. Now here we are nearly half a year later… our courage worn in but our concerns not worn out. Still we carry on, but now we do it with the calmness of seasoned warriors – and that is exactly who you are.

Leaders. Fighters. COVID-19 combat survivors. Wear your badges with honor for you are the most honorable. You’ve suffered long but you kept calm and carried on with an eye on a purpose greater than who you are. Your trials are becoming triumphs, and together we move closer to the victory stage. Keep calm, carry on, and keep the faith!

COVID-19 At Home

All team members living with someone waiting for COVID-19 test results or with someone who is currently positive for COVID-19 must notify Employee Health immediately for directions. Rest assured, if quarantine is necessary, employees will be placed on a leave of absence and become eligible for unemployment benefits. Not sure if any of this applies to you? Stay on the safe side and call Employee Health for help.

  • Living with someone who is currently positive for COVID-19:
    • Team members living with COVID-19 positive individuals will be placed in quarantine to ensure they receive the rest necessary to fight potential sickness and prevent the infection from spreading to others.
  • Living with someone who is waiting for COVID-19 test results:
    • Team members living with someone awaiting test results will likely be quarantined until the test results arrive to reduce the risk of exposure if results return positive.

REMINDER: How To Report Your COVID-19 Symptoms

  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you must do the following:
  1. Do not come to work.
  2. Call your Supervisor/Manager.
  3. Call or email Employee Health at 624-2458 or EmployeeHealth@kdhcd.org.

*Do not visit the Employee Health office in person.

  1. Call the Leave of Absence team at extension 2274 for assistance, or as directed by Employee Health.
  2. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, go to your nearest Emergency Room.
  3. If you test POSITIVE elsewhere, notify Employee Health.
  • For all other absence/call-off reasons not related to COVID-19, follow your department/unit’s standard attendance reporting procedure.
  • Information for Supervisors/Managers/Medical Directors:
  • Employee Health remains in frequent contact with COVID positive staff members and works closely with Human Resources to return staff back to work when it is safe and appropriate. Human Resources will notify Leaders when an employee has been released to return to work.
  • Employee Health cannot release employee test results to Leaders. It is the employee’s responsibility to inform managers of their results and they receive this instruction when they receive their test results. Please wait for staff to inform you of their COVID status.

Distance Learning at The Lifestyle Center

The school year has started and so has distance learning at The Lifestyle Center. On Monday, August 17, children and grandchildren (ages 5-11 years old) of Kaweah Health team members attended their first day at TLC, which kicked off with great success. To date, 70 children are enrolled in the flexible schedule program with daily attendance numbering at approximately 40 children each day. Our TLC and HR teams are actively working with the State to increase our daily license capacity by 20 additional spots, which would allow the facility to increase its daily attendance levels to 50-60 children per day. Hours of operation are 7:30 AM – 5:45 PM (normal school hours) with two payment levels available. We hope this service will help our Kaweah Health parents/grandparents with this very challenging situation and relieve a bit of worry and stress. For more information, please contact George Ortega at joortega@kdhcd.org or (559) 624-5281.

New Hires Joining Our Teams

Since March, Kaweah Health has hired 176 new nurses to support current staff working tirelessly in all areas of the District, trying to meet the evolving staffing demands. Of the 176 new hires, 120 individuals are new to the District and 55 were team members who transitioned into registered nurse roles. Hiring continues in other disciplines and areas as well to meet the growing demand for patient care. Thank you to our Human Resources and onboarding teams who have been very busy trying to ensure our teams are fully staffed to offset issues caused by Leaves of Absence, the anticipated surge in September, and the upcoming flu season. Also, many thanks to our licensed non-clinical staff who’ve been trained to return to bedside care, helping support our nursing teams on the floor. Your willingness to step up to help in patient care areas is beyond appreciated and is making a positive impact.

Possible Surge After Labor Day

Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic, we have experienced a surge in positive cases and hospitalizations after holidays and expect the same to happen after Labor Day (September 7). As always, we are planning ahead and are prepared for an influx of patients should a surge take place. Staffing increases and Command Center operations remain in effect and we feel confident in our teams and resources to handle what may come our way. If your schedule allows, we hope you take time to rest over the holiday weekend and hope you keep safety in mind during your celebrations. As you make your plans, please take every precaution to protect others and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Be mindful of washing your hands, refraining from potluck-style dinners, and making sure to social distance or wear masks as much as possible. Yes – we are feeling fatigued by months of practicing safety precautions but they are imperative to the health of our families and community.

“Virtual” Command Center

Kaweah Health has not returned to “normal” operation due to uncertainties with staffing, supplies, and anticipated surges; therefore, our COVID-19 Incident Command Center is still intact and continuing to operate our crisis response to the pandemic. With that being said, our entire District team has done a phenomenal job adapting to the ever-evolving situation and as a result, the Command Center will shift towards a “virtual” presence. This means Command Center leaders will continue to be available at ext. 5000 but may not always be present in the physical Command Center located in the Acequia Wing Conference Room. Please see the schedule below for more information. Still not sure what this means? Call 624-5000 for more information.

  • Monday – Friday:
    • 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM: Maribel Aguilar, Todd Noeske, Steve Thompson, and Section Chiefs as needed.
    • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Leadership Team Members on a rotating basis
    • 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: House Supervisors
  • Saturday and Sunday:
    • All Day: House Supervisors

Join The Huddle on Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place on Friday, August 21st at 10:00 AM. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 8/20/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 3,550 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 45 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 8/18/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 322 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 255 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 team member numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, August 25.

Command Center Update
Thursday, August 13 – 7:30 PM

"The joy of living is the gratitude of the moment." - Lailah Gifty Akita

First day of school jitters are completely normal, but anxiety levels for both children and parents reached an all-time high this year. The annual tradition of the first day of school took place in the most untraditional way. Kitchen tables replaced classrooms, keyboards replaced pencils, and the “new normal” replaced the old one we desperately long for. No matter how much we wish things were different, life keeps marching on and forces us to keep up. In the pursuit of happiness, all we can do these days is let go of what was – the first days of school of the past – and live in the present. The future is unpredictable and the past is set in stone, but the present… the present unfolds moment by moment. Don’t let a single one slip away. Be mindful of your thoughts and live for today. Life is constantly changing and tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not. So live in the now. Life happens in moments, and this is yours. Live for the laughs. Live for the hugs. Live for the joy in this untraditional life. It’s the only one you’ve got right now, and things are going to be okay.

Distance Learning at The Lifestyle Center

The VUSD school year began today with distance learning planned for at least the first nine weeks of school. Other schools and districts are implementing their own varied schedules. We know this is challenging for those of you with school-aged children and have established the option of using The Lifestyle Center as a site to offer distance learning for the children and grandchildren of Kaweah Health team members. Kids must be between 5-11 years of age. Hours will be 7:30 AM – 5:45 PM (normal school hours); cost varies. To date, 80 children are expected to attend when distance learning begins at TLC next Monday, August 17. We hope this service will help our Kaweah Health parents/grandparents with this very challenging situation and relieve a bit of worry and stress. For more information, please contact George Ortega at joortega@kdhcd.org or (559) 624-5281.

N95 Mask Collection – Battelle Reprocessing

Green collection cans have been delivered to units to assist us in collecting N95 masks to send to Battelle for decontamination. Battelle is an applied science and technology company that cleans N95 masks for reuse using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide – scientifically proven to effectively kill the COVID-19 virus. Your safety is our priority, which is why we have chosen to use Battelle’s sterilization process – the ONLY sterilizing process approved by the FDA. This advanced cleaning system can decontaminate the same respirator multiple times without degrading N95 respirator performance, elongating the life of our PPE – a critical component of our COVID-19 response as the country continues experiencing a surge and supplies become more difficult to obtain. IMPORTANT NOTE: Right now, we are only collecting, cleaning, and storing N95 masks as a precautionary measure in the event of a supply shortage. No masks have been reused after cleaning and we continue to search for a steady N95 supply chain and purchase new masks as much as possible.

Department of Defense Support Extended

The support provided by the clinical team from the Department of Defense (DoD) has been extended fourteen days, until August 28. The DoD team arrived on July 16 and is comprised of 21 military personnel including four physicians, 11 nurses, two CNA/techs, two respiratory therapists, and two administrative assistants. Thank you for helping us make our temporary team members feel welcomed at Kaweah Health and at home on our units and in our communities. We truly are in this together.

Thermometers for Daily Temperature Screenings

We are expecting our thermometers to ship on August 18. Once they’ve arrived, the thermometers will be distributed throughout non-patient care areas in the District on August 24. Daily temperature screenings in patient care areas began in mid-July. More information for non-patient care areas will be available soon. Daily temperature screenings are one of many steps Kaweah Health has taken to ensure the safety of our team and patients. We have witnessed the positive impact of these safety measures, helping us decrease the spread of COVID-19 among our team. Thank you for continuing to be cautious during and outside of work.

Social Distancing During Break Time

We understand break space is limited but please make every effort to social distance in common areas during break and meal times. We are continuing to assess spaces where additional break areas can be established. Below is the list of the alternative break areas available in the Medical Center:

  • Mineral King Wing
    • ICU Patio – Located on 2West
    • ICCU Patio – Located on 3West
    • Blue Room – Located in basement (Equipped with microwaves)
  • Acequia Wing
    • CVICU Waiting Room – Located on 3Tower
    • Telemetry Waiting Room – Located on 4Tower
    • CVICCU Waiting Room – Located on 5Tower

Porterville Alternative Care Site (PACS)

The PACS facility was established in early July for low-acuity, nursing-home level care for COVID positive patients. The facility has strict criteria for admission and we continue to evaluate our patients on a daily basis for appropriateness of referral. We have only sent two patients to this location because the majority of our patients are too acutely ill to meet the criteria or are well-enough to be discharged and continue recovering at home. We are currently evaluating what we can do to make the PACS a viable discharge option in anticipation of another surge after Labor Day and flu season.

Staffing Update

Many thanks to our licensed non-clinical staff who’ve been trained to return to bedside care, helping support our nursing teams on the floor. Your willingness to step up to help in patient care areas is beyond appreciated and is making a positive impact. In addition to returning non-clinical staff to the bedside, we are continuing to hire new team members to provide some much-needed relief to our clinical teams working tirelessly at the bedside, trying to meet the evolving staffing demands.

Join The Huddle on Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place on Friday, August 14th at 10:00 AM. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 8/13/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 3,345 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 59 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, Labor/Delivery, and Mother/Baby. Additionally, patient care pods for COVID-19 positive patients have been created on 2North, 3North, and 4North.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 8/13/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 310 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 241 have recovered and returned to work; zero team members are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 team member numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, August 18.

Command Center Update
Thursday, August 6 – 9:00 PM

COVID fatigue is real. Even though we are all feeling it to the extreme, we must carry on and ask ourselves what we need to keep up the fight. What restores your body, mind, and energy? Who are the people and where are the places that bring you back to life? Find your answers and chase after those things, those people, and those places like you would a glass of water after being lost in a desert. Your heart and soul need the refreshment. Be intentional about taking care of yourself while you work day-in and day-out caring for others. Self-care is not selfish. It is an act of love – for when you take time to restore yourself, you also restore your ability to restore others. Even Superman took time to seek solace in the Fortress of Solitude and he’s a fictional hero – you’re a real one. Take time each day to restore your strength and you’ll come back ready to save the world again.

Distance Learning at The Lifestyle Center

Local school districts are continuing to work through the logistics of distance learning and school schedules. VUSD is scheduled to start August 14 with distance learning for the first nine weeks of school, at a minimum. Other schools and districts are implementing varied schedules. We know this is challenging for those of you with school-aged children and have established the option of using The Lifestyle Center as a site to offer distance learning for the children of our parents (ages 5/6 to 11 years old). Hours will be 7:30 AM – 5:45 PM (normal school hours) and two fee levels to cover costs have been established based on team member hourly earnings. We hope this will help our Kaweah Health parents with this very challenging situation and relieve a bit of worry and stress. Stay tuned for more information to be released soon by Dianne Cox, our Vice President, Human Resources.

Window Installation on Patient Room Doors

Windows are currently being installed on patient room doors where COVID-19 positive patients are being treated. Windows will allow our team to visually assess patients without having to enter and exit the room as often, reducing the risk of exposure and increasing the life of our PPE supply. 3West is undergoing the installation process, followed by 3North and then other units.

BD Max PCR Tests Temporarily Unavailable

Our Kaweah Health Lab will not have access to BD Max PCR tests for the next three to four weeks. It is recommended that all Medical Staff and Advanced Practice Providers utilize the ID Now test or diagnose patients based on clinical symptoms as opposed to ordering a Commercial PCR test (delay in receipt of results for up to 21 days). For questions, please contact Keri Noeske, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

Join The Huddle on Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place on Friday, August 7th at 10:00 AM. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

Patient Recovery Celebrations

Today, we had the honor of discharging two patients who recovered from COVID-19, bringing our total number of patient recovery celebrations at Kaweah Health to 30! These events are important and meaningful for staff and patients and we encourage you to attend celebrations as often as your schedule allows. Keep an eye on your text messages and KD email for future patient recovery celebration announcements. It truly is a wonderful event when we come together to cheer and clap for COVID-19 survivors and our amazing team members who helped them recover.

Information At Your Fingertips

For all the latest information regarding our response to COVID-19, please continue to visit our internal webpage. On the site, you’ll find information about PPE, Employee Huddles, Human Resources, Employee Health, and much more. Access the site on the KDCentral home page or by visiting www.kaweahdelta.org/c19 on your computer or mobile device. Password to enter is CovidInfo2020.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 8/6/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 3,113 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 75 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, Labor/Delivery, and Mother/Baby. Additionally, patient care pods for COVID-19 positive patients have been created on 2North, 3North, and 4North.

COVID-19 Positive Team Members (as of 8/3/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 282 team members test positive for COVID-19 and 189 have recovered and returned to work; six team members are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 team member numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, August 11.

MASK UPDATES

“Scuba” Masks Prohibited For Use

Please review the image below. Masks such as this, similar to scuba masks, are not allowed in any Kaweah Health facility by any team member. The factors behind this decision are listed below.

  • This mask is not FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization for use only when FDA approved masks are unavailable.
  • Per Manufacturer’s instructions, these masks:
    • Should only be used when FDA-cleared face shields are unavailable
    • Make no claim of infection prevention or reduction
    • Make no claim of antiviral protection
    • Can only be cleaned by submersing the entire mask in 10% bleach solution

Less Mask Changes = Less Risk

As we continue battling the surge, protecting ourselves and team members must remain one of our top priorities. The less we handle and change our masks throughout our shifts, the more we reduce our risk of exposure. That being said, we strongly encourage anyone using an N95 mask for the course of their work to leave it on for the entirety of their shift, rather than switching between an N95 and a surgical mask to perform varying job duties. If you must switch between masks, please remember to practice safe hand hygiene.

N95 Supply Chain

Thank you for your continued responsible use of PPE. Although we currently have an adequate supply of N95 masks, we do not yet have a steady supply chain. Our Logistics Team is working tirelessly to identify a mask vendor who can provide a regular supply of N95s. In the meantime, your commitment to responsible mask use and preservation helps us keep everyone safe.

N95 Mask Collection – Battelle Reprocessing

Help us save our supply of N95 masks! Green collection cans will be delivered to units on Monday, August 10 to assist us in collecting N95 masks to send to Battelle for decontamination. Battelle is an applied science and technology company that cleans N95 masks for reuse using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide. This advanced cleaning system can decontaminate the same respirator multiple times without degrading N95 respirator performance, elongating the life of our PPE – a critical component of our COVID-19 response as the country continues experiencing a surge and supplies become more difficult to obtain.

  • Units receiving green collection cans: ICU, 3W, 2S, 4N, 3N, 2N, ED, CVICU, RH/SSR, TCS/SA, OR, CVOR
  • Go Live: Immediately following bin delivery
  • Reminder: Masks that are visibly soiled (i.e. makeup or other substances) should be disposed of as usual. Please consider not wearing makeup where the mask will cover. Visibly soiled masks cannot be reprocessed.

Command Center Update
Thursday, July 23 – 7:30 PM

"Hope is the heartbeat of the soul." - Michelle Horst

Think about your life. Think about the moments – or the seasons – that made your heart thump hard in your chest. Your first love, the birth of a baby, a final exam, the loss of a patient… all life experiences where our hearts could easily jump from our chests. In joy and sorrow, our hearts beat rapidly, reminding us we’re still alive. Even when our bodies are tired and our spirits are heavy, the beat of our heart goes on. And so must we.

COVID-19 is a season – a long season – our hearts must bear. But with courage and encouragement, we will make it through alive. Let the thump in your chest beat out the fear in your head. For now is the time to push forward together, one heart next to another, into the days ahead. Your heart beats for a reason. Feed it hope and let the tempo gently usher your way.

How To Report Your COVID-19 Symptoms

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you must do the following:

  1. Do not come to work.
  2. Call your Supervisor/Manager.
  3. Call or email Employee Health at 624-2458 or EmployeeHealth@kdhcd.org.

*Do not visit the Employee Health office in person.

  1. Call the Leave of Absence team at extension 2274 for assistance, or as directed by Employee Health.
  2. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, go to your nearest Emergency Room.
  3. If you test POSITIVE elsewhere, notify Employee Health.

For all other absence/call-off reasons not related to COVID-19, follow your department/unit’s proper attendance reporting procedure.

Information for Supervisors/Managers/Medical Directors:

  • Employee Health remains in daily contact with COVID positive staff members and works closely with Human Resources to return staff back to work when it is safe and appropriate. Human Resources will notify Leaders when an employee has been released to return to work.
  • Employee Health cannot release employee test results to Leaders. Doing so is a HIPAA violation. It is the employee’s responsibility to inform managers of their results and they receive this instruction when they receive their test results. Please wait for staff to inform you of their COVID status.

Floral Street Specimen Collection Site

Our COVID-19 operations continue to evolve as we continue to meet CDC guidelines, patient care responsibilities, and streamlining of services. In this effort, on Friday, July 24th, we will modify the traffic flow and collection stations from Floral Street to the Multiservice Center (MSC) parking lot. The MSC parking lot will be dedicated to COVID-19 testing starting on Thursday, July 23 at 3:30 PM, when our Facilities Team will begin setting up equipment. District owned vehicles will need to be relocated.

  • PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: Employees working inside the MSC building will need to use the Floral Street door to enter and exit the building. Please avoid using the MSC parking lot to access the building due to moving vehicles. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Rumor Control: ED Is NOT A Testing Site

There is a belief in the community that our Emergency Department is a COVID-19 testing site. This is false. The Emergency Department is NOT a testing site. We reserve tests at our hospital for patients and people with symptoms who need medical attention. Please help us educate the community and reduce the number inappropriate visits to our Emergency Department. If community members are seeking a COVID-19 test, please inform them of the following options for testing:

Big Kahuna Is Coming!

Get a taste of island life with Big Kahuna Hawaiian Shave Ice! The Executive Team is bringing the cold, tasty treat to District campuses as a way of saying “thank you” for your support and hard work throughout this pandemic. Take a look at the schedule below and be sure to visit the Big Kahuna truck when it stops at a campus near you.

Date

Time

Campus

Friday, July 24

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

South Campus

Monday, July 27

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Exeter

Tuesday, July 28

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Kaweah Health Medical Foundation

Wednesday, July 29

10:00 PM – Midnight

Downtown Campus (NOC Shift)

Thursday, July 30

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

West Campus (in front of Cousteaus)

Friday, July 31

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Downtown Campus (Carpool Parking Lot, next to Kaweah Kids)

Labor Pool

If you are clocked in and are being docked four or more hours in a shift OR if you are not clocked in or on site but receive word that you are being docked, please report to the Labor Pool by calling(559) 786-4470 or ext. 2274. Patient care nursing staff must call the staffing office at (559) 624-2206.

  • Labor Pool Expectations:
    • ANY employee who is docking four or more hours in a scheduled shift is required to report to the Labor Pool.
    • ANY employee who does not report to the Labor Pool will not be coded as Mandatory Dock and will be coded as PTO/Unscheduled or PTO/Unscheduled-no pay. This may affect future benefit eligibility.
    • If you are being assigned, please clock in under 8950 cost center and inform your manager that you have reported to the Labor Pool.
  • Questions?
    • Please call Raleen Larez at ext. 5254 or Blanca Bedolla at ext. 2550.

Social Distancing During Meal Time

Remember to continue social distancing and reminding others to do the same in common areas. Unfortunately, we continue to have staff congregate in close-quartered lines at the Siren Grill and in the cafeteria. We also continue to witness groups sitting together during meal time. To put it simply, social distancing is the physical separation of people. That being said, please practice proper social distancing during meal time by refraining from sitting in groups during meal time – an especially risky time for disease to spread since people are eating and can introduce the virus to their system more easily. Additionally, please remember to store and consume all food in designated break areas. Acting like Joint Commission is here for inspection is a great way to remember safe food practices.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 7/23/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 2,428 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 81 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU. Additionally, patient care pods for COVID-19 positive patients have been created on 3North, 4North, and 2North.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 7/23/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 226 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 143 have recovered and returned to work; four employees are hospitalized. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, July 28.

Command Center Update
Thursday, July 16 – 9:00 PM

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s how the old saying goes, but what do you do when you get sick of the lemonade? When the pandemic arrived as an unwelcomed guest on our door steps, we were frightened by the unknown future standing in front of us. But as days went by, we learned to make the best of them, accept what we couldn’t control, and even began enjoying a quieter way of life. Fast forward to present day and things have changed. For many of us, those quiet days are over and we are just plain over it. You’ve had your fill of lemonade and now you’re desperate for a new flavor. Take heart, you are far from alone – and the bonds we’re building through this sour time will remain in place long after the bitter taste of COVID-19 disappears from our palates. We may be sick of lemonade but it helps to know we’re not drinking alone. Cheers to us!

Department of Defense Support

Tulare County is a COVID-19 hotspot in our state, and our community is in the midst of the long-anticipated surge. To help support our staffing needs and provide some much-needed relief to our clinical teams working tirelessly at the bedside, we have accepted an offer from the state to deploy a clinical team from the Department of Defense (DoD). The team arrived today and is comprised of 21 military personnel including four physicians, 11 nurses, two CNA/techs, two respiratory therapists, and two administrative assistants. Team members were orientated today and will work an orientation shift tomorrow before being assigned to units caring for COVID-19 positive patients. We expect the team to work amongst us for 30 days, but their time here may be extended should a need for additional help remain at the end of that time. Other area hospitals, including medical centers in Hanford and Fresno, also accepted DoD team offers from the state. Please join us in welcoming our temporary team members to Kaweah Health and helping us make them feel at home on our units and in our communities. We are all in this together.

Labor Pool Now Active

The Labor Pool has been formally reactivated to support our growing volumes in the Medical Center and other facilities, and we believe we have assignments for most employees experiencing any docking. Please report to the Labor Pool by calling(559) 786-4470 or ext. 2274 if you are clocked in and are being docked four or more hours in a shift OR if you are not clocked in or on site, but receive word that you are being docked. For questions, please call Raleen Larez at ext. 5254 or Blanca Bedolla at ext. 2550.

  • Labor Pool Expectations:
    • ANY employee who is docking four or more hours in a scheduled shift is required to report to the Labor Pool.
    • ANY employee who does not report to the Labor Pool will be not be coded as Mandatory Dock and will be coded as PTO/Unscheduled or PTO/Unscheduled-no pay. This may affect future benefit eligibility.
    • If you are being assigned, please clock in under 8950 cost center and inform your manager that you have reported to the Labor Pool.

Help With Housekeeping

In an effort to bolster Environmental Services staffing in the Medical Center and other patient care areas, we will be modifying office cleaning procedures and schedules. We ask that all employees in office buildings outside of patient care areas contribute to cleaning (after all, we are all housekeepers, responsible for our areas and picking up trash when possible). Below are more details. Modifications to this plan will be made should a need arise in the weeks to come.

  • Standard Office Cleaning: Now scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will “trim down” service in areas currently being cleaned five days per week. In offices with very low populations, standardized cleaning may be done one day per week.
  • Vacuuming: Will take place once per week.
  • Trash: On non-service days, staff may empty their trash cans in centralized areas like breakrooms. EVS will also proactively assess areas to determine the need for additional repository areas.
  • Restrooms: Serviced daily in high occupancy buildings.

Temperature Screenings

Daily temperature screenings in patient care areas began on Wednesday, July 15. Initial reports show the screening process has been quick and well-received by staff. Non-patient care areas should expect to begin participating in screening when thermometers become available across the District. We expect a shipment within one week.

Patient Care Areas

  • Pay Attention to Red Tape
    • We have purchased red, vinyl tape and are currently creating boundary lines on units as a visual reminder to ensure team members do not enter or exit high-risk areas without donning/doffing the appropriate PPE. The red tape is a visual marker denoting the importance of proper safety precautions in patient care areas and several units have already begun outlining areas with red tape. Full implementation in the Medical Center will be completed by early next week.
  • Three-Level Carts
    • To help make PPE and cleaning products more readily accessible outside more patient care areas, we have purchased additional three-level carts and expect their arrival shortly. Carts are used to store cleaning products and PPE like face shields, cleaning products,

Porterville Alternative Care Site

California State agencies, Federal Partners, and private contractors, in coordination with State Emergency Operations authorities, have established a temporary Alternative Care Site (ACS) facility at the Porterville Developmental Center campus in order to provide local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities with care options and improve regional capacity in support of California’s COVID-19 response. This Porterville ACS facility has been established for low-acuity, nursing-home level care for COVID positive patients and currently has a census of 15-20 patients. The facility has strict criteria for admission and we continue to evaluate our patients on a daily basis for appropriateness of referral. We have yet to send patients to this location because our patient are too acutely ill to meet the criteria or are well-enough to be discharged and continue recovering at home.

N95 Mask Cleaning Vendor

Kaweah Health has signed a contract with Battelle, an applied science and technology company, to assist in the cleaning of N95 masks for reuse. The Battelle CCDS Critical Care Decontamination System™ can decontaminate thousands of N95 respirators using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide. The respirators are exposed at the validated concentration level to decontaminate biological contaminants, including COVID-19. This advanced cleaning system can decontaminate the same respirator multiple times without degrading N95 respirator performance. This process elongates the life of our PPE – a critical component of our COVID-19 response as the country goes through the surge and supplies become more difficult to obtain.

UPDATED – Resources for Resiliency and Wellness

Log into our internal webpage to see the latest updates to the “Resources for Resiliency and Wellness” guide, put together to support the health and wellness of our minds, bodies, and souls during this challenging time. The updated listing is also attached to this email with new content highlighted for easier navigation.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 7/16/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 1,967 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 69 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, and Pediatrics, which has been converted to a COVID unit (Med Surg-level of care) for overflow. To accommodate this plan, Pediatric care was relocated to Mother-Baby in April. Additionally, patient care pods for COVID-19 positive patients have been created on 3North and 4North, with a third pod becoming available on 2North in the coming days.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 7/14/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 191 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 121 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, July 21.


Command Center Update
Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 8:10 PM

"In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another." - Daphne Rose Kingman

The Ancient Greeks had many words for love. Philía: affection that grows from friendship. Storgē: empathetic love of family. Éros: passionate love for romantic partners. And then there is agápe: universal love for all. Agápe takes courage. And sacrifice. And strength. It is the altruistic love of others. It is the love you give at work each day at Kaweah Health.

They say love heals. Heals bodies. Heals minds. Heals hearts. Thank you for your agápe and the healing it brings. The road is long but the power of love can get us through.

Porterville Alternative Care Site

California State agencies, Federal Partners, and private contractors, in coordination with State Emergency Operations authorities, have established a temporary Alternative Care Site (ACS) facility at the Porterville Developmental Center campus in order to provide local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities with care options and improve regional capacity in support of California’s COVID-19 response. This Porterville ACS facility has been established for low-acuity, nursing-home level care for COVID positive patients, and is staffed by a complete team of providers ranging from physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and more. The State and its partners have done a great job creating a safe environment at the Porterville ACS and we are assessing our COVID positive patients who may be eligible for a move to the ACS. Discharging patients to the ACS would relieve the patient load on our units, ahead of an anticipated surge increase of COVID positive inpatients in the Medical Center.

Face Shields for Patient Care Providers

For an additional layer of protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, all patient care providers will be issued a face shield. What staff providing direct care to our patients need to know:

  • The face shield must be worn when in contact with patients closer than six feet for longer than 15 minutes forall patients, every shift, regardless of COVID-19 status.
    • Continue to follow PPE guidelines related to suspect or COVID positive patient contact.
  • Team members are responsible for maintaining their individual face shields, including:
    • Cleaning face shields before and after each shift
    • Cleaning face shields between each patient and as needed during the shift
    • Labeling face shields with their name
    • Storing face shields between shifts
    • Bringing face shields with them to work for each shift

At this time, face shields are meant for extended single user use and will be replaced if broken, cloudy and impairing vision, etc. Please see your manager to receive/replace your face shield and to clarify the practice as it relates to your particular area and responsibility. Thank you for your cooperation with this new PPE standard. Face shields have been implemented to increase the safety of patient care providers and will help us slow the spread of COVID-19.

No Double Masking

It is common to see team members wearing two face masks; however, we ask that this practice not continue to ensure your safety. Wearing two masks does not allow the bottom mask to seal properly, leaving team members at potential risk. Please do not double mask. Additionally, please note that cloth masks are only acceptable in office settings and cannot be worn when working in patient care areas. Surgical masks are recommended and available over cloth masks. Please reach out to your manager or visit the Command Center for surgical mask replacements.

More Staff, More Help

Our Recruitment Department and Nursing Leadership is working closely together daily to recruit, onboard, and orient new staff. Recognizing the staffing challenge we have faced due to the number of registered nurse (RN) and certified nursing assistant (CNA) positions that remain open, we have hired more than 50 new RNs since March 1 with an additional 60-plus new hires starting work in July; others are waiting for licensing. Furthermore, 39 traveling RNs will begin work this month, as well as nursing students who will fill patient sitter roles, allowing our CNAs to return to patient care on the floors. An increase in PPE safety measures while doing patient care will also assist in decreasing illness and leave related to COVID-19. Thank you for your tireless efforts and commitment to patient care… more help is on the way!

Labor Pool Reactivated

The rise in COVID-19 infections has led to an increased demand for frequent cleaning in the Medical Center and a more intense screening process at entryways. To support these important practices, the Labor Pool will be reactivated in the coming days, primarily using the help of team members who have experienced a loss of hours. Stay tuned for more information to come.

We Are in This Together

At the current rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization, projections reveal that half of our Kaweah Health Medical Center will be filled with COVID positive patients by the end of 2020. Now, more than ever before, is the time to take action to protect ourselves and community from this virus. To help drive this point home, local agency leaders, including Kaweah Health CEO Gary Herbst, joined forces last Friday to deliver a message to the community: “This is serious.” Read the news story and watch the press conference at the link below to learn more about Tulare County’s unified response.

Visalia Times-Health article: https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2020/07/03/coronavirus-surge-slams-tulare-county-hospitals-threatens-economy/5372017002/

Command Center Reorganization

Due to the surge of COVID-19 patients in our facilities and leadership changes within the District, the Command Center has reorganized to continue effectively managing our response to the pandemic. Leadership changes/additions are listed below.

  • Logistics Section Chiefs:
    • Steve Bajari, Dir of Procurement & Logistics, Materials Management
    • Dianne Cox, VP Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Liaison Officers:
    • Mary Laufer, Director of Nursing Practice
    • Marc Mertz, VP Chief Strategy Officer
  • Operations Section Chiefs:
    • Jon Knudsen, Director of Critical Care Services
    • Emma Mozier, Director of Medical/Surgical Services
  • Medical Care Branch: James McNulty, Director of Pharmacy
  • Incident Commander: Keri Noeske, VP Chief Nursing Officer

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 7/9/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 1,597 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 51 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, ICCU, and Pediatrics, which has been converted to a COVID unit (Med Surg-level of care) for overflow. To accommodate this plan, Pediatric care was relocated to Mother-Baby in April.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 7/7/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 170 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 105 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, July 14.

Command Center Update
Thursday, July 2, 2020

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." - Thomas Jefferson

Two hundred and forty-four years ago, a group of ordinary people came together for an extraordinary purpose. Political, economic, and social hardship had plagued them for too long and they’d finally had enough. Facing death, they stepped forward. Their mission too great to abandon. United as one against tyranny, they transformed their lives, and our nation’s history, in the passionate quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The year was 1776, and this Saturday – the Fourth of July – we will celebrate the freedoms borne of this day.

But right now, many of us feel far from free. Our bodies, minds, and souls are prisoners to the tyranny of COVID-19. It has a stronghold on our spirits and society and its unrelenting power over our political, economic, and social wellbeing is taxing us more each day. Even still, revolution is possible. Don’t let the iron fist of viral oppression knock you out of this fight. When you want to give up, you must find a way to fight back. You must keep going. You must not quit. No noble fight was ever won without bravery and perseverance. John Adams, a Founding Father and the second President of the United States, once wrote, “The Revolution was in the minds of the people.” And the people would not be stopped. They wrote their dreams down on paper, mailed them off to their oppressor, and fought until sweet victory was theirs.

We must do the same. We must keep fighting. We must remain united against COVID-19. If we can do this, if we don’t give up, we will break free from this dictator. Our independence day is coming, and together we will win this good fight.

On The Cusp of a Surge

Early on in our response to COVID-19, we identified multiple surge areas in the hospital where we currently perform patient care but don’t typically perform inpatient care. These areas are outside of our more than 300 inpatient care beds located inside the main campus’ acute care hospital and include Endoscopy, Ambulatory Surgery, and PACU. These areas do patient care but they are not areas where we would put inpatients staying overnight unless we experience an extreme surge, in which case, we would prepare these areas for inpatients. This plan has been outlined should we need to make room for more patients and would require collaboration among many teams including Pharmacy, EVS, ISS, Clinical Engineering, Human Resources, and more. We hope not to experience a surge of this kind. To help us avoid potential issues, we are focusing on determining which patients can be safely discharged and/or cared for in a post-acute setting, as well as finding ways to perform care in a safe but expedited manner to reduce the census and alleviate the strain our team is already experiencing.

More people out in the community means more people are and will get sick. This was inevitable due to a lack of immunity and a lack of proper safety precautions taken by people to protect others. When things began to reopen, state and local leaders including our healthcare team, were hopeful everyone would continue being conscientious to limiting the spread to ensure our economy stayed strong. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case and the positive case number has rapidly increased, which is directly related to insufficient safety practices such as social distancing, mask wearing, and proper hand hygiene. We are on the cusp of experiencing our surge and are prepared for the continued increase of COVID-19 patients in the Medical Center.

Celebrate With Safety in Mind

Please take every precaution this holiday weekend to protect others and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Positive case numbers have increased at an alarming rate and we should all do our best to diligently stick to health guidelines, practice social distancing, wear masks, keep gatherings on a small scale, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often. Be mindful of washing your hands, refraining from potluck-style dinners, and embracing others without masks on. Yes – we are feeling fatigued by months of practicing these safety precautions but they are imperative to our health.

One Small Ask, Please Wear A Mask

Face masks are a symbol of the pandemic era. While a few months ago anyone wearing a mask in public would have drawn stares, they are now a reminder of the strange times we live in. We know masks of any kind are not perfect barriers for contagion. Wearing one in public spaces doesn't offer absolute protection and shouldn't be thought of as a foolproof way to interact with others. However, experts report that wearing a mask does help protect against transmission by asymptomatic carriers, and data shows that likely one in four people infected with COVID-19 are indeed asymptomatic and unaware of their contagion. Wearing a mask is cumbersome. It's hot, and it's uncomfortable. But wearing a mask helps save lives. Let’s do everything in our power to slow and prevent the spread of the virus in our community. We have one small ask… please wear a mask.

KD Employee Huddle – Available Online

Due to the Fourth of July holiday, we moved the weekly huddle up a day and went live this morning with answers to your questions. If you missed the webinar or want to listen to the information shared again, please visit the link below. Topics included Kaweah Health’s financial future, universal masking for patients, surge plans, and more.

Huddle Web Link: https://www.kaweahdelta.org/EmployeeInfo/KD-Employee-Huddle/July-2-Employee-Huddle.aspx

Password: CovidInfo2020

Food Deliveries

If you have food delivered to the Medical Center, please make every effort to meet your delivery person at the door when they arrive with your order. Please be courteous to our door screeners by not expecting them to accept and store food deliveries on your behalf. This practice has led to a food backlog issue at our entrances as a result of staff not meeting their delivery person at the door.

  • Feedback from delivery drivers helps explain why this may be occurring:Often times, medical staff and employees list their personal cell phone numbers as their contact number when ordering food. The issue with this is clinical staff generally do not have their cell phones on them while at work and therefore, cannot be reached by delivery drivers when they arrive with food, forcing drivers to leave the food with our door screeners.
  • One potential solution to the problem:To keep this issue from happening, we kindly ask staff to provide restaurants with the contact number you are most likely to be reached on during your shift. This number may include the number to the Kaweah Health phone assigned to you for the day. Making this one change will help everyone involved including our door screeners, delivery drivers, and your hungry stomach!

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 7/2/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 1,291 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 54 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU, and Pediatrics, which has been converted to a COVID unit (ICCU-level of care) for overflow. To accommodate this plan, Pediatric care was relocated to Mother-Baby in April.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/30/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 141 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 91 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, July 7.

Command Center Update
Friday, June 26, 2020

"It doesn’t matter how your week started. Today is the perfect day to decide how you want it to end." - Anonymous

No matter how much we love our jobs and coworkers, there is nothing quite like that “Friday feeling,” even if your “Friday” takes place on another day of the week. We all know what that Friday feeling feels like – it happens when the pressure of the week starts to melt away and our hearts begin to flutter at the thought of days off ahead. We see the weekend on the horizon and breathe a sigh of relief. We made it – another week conquered and that Friday feeling feels a lot like victory. Relish it. Let that Friday feeling wash over you like cool water on a hot summer day. You deserve it after the sweat you’ve poured into your work all week. Take time today to acknowledge and appreciate what you learned over the last five days and celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Friday is here and that Friday feeling is the best gift of all!

Visitor Restrictions

Having to implement and enforce the visitor restriction policy continues to be the most difficult aspect of our COVID-19 response. Even still, it is imperative we continue to maintain the visitor restrictions and exceptions in place for the protection of our team, patients, and community. No changes to the current visitor restriction policy are being made at this time due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 positive cases in our county and state. The potential for COVID-19 positive visitors entering the Medical Center and spreading the virus amongst our team and patients is higher than ever before and we need to continue protecting the health and safety of our team and community. This is done in part by restricting visitors with few exceptions.

Rising Numbers Mean A Surge Is Possible

Right now, our county is experiencing a significant increase in positive cases among persons under 60 years of age, and our Medical Center currently has more people hospitalized than it did at the height of our COVID-19 response. We are averaging around 40 COVID-19 positive patients per day with a current age distribution of 24 patients over 60 years old and 15 patients under 60. We’re hearing a lot about a surge and this is what we mean: a “surge” happens when the Medical Center cares for patients outside its normal capacity. As of today, this equates to an additional 40 patients per day based on our average daily census of around 300 patients. If a surge were to take place, we would activate our surge plan which includes training non-clinical nurses for bedside care. How can you help keep a surge from happening? By continuing to take safety precautions like using proper PPE, wearing masks in public, diligently washing your hands, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings. Do your part to protect the people you love and the community we serve.

Join The Huddle

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place today, Friday, June 26th at 10:00 AM. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

Don’t Miss The Upcoming “Parades”

  • Friday, June 26th around Noon: Join us outside the Medical Center for a two-lap motorcycle parade from 40 members of the La Raza Motorcycle Club who have taken the day off to thank and celebrate our Kaweah Health healthcare team. The LRMC riders will also be donating 150 meals for designated departments, and will begin the parade at the Kaweah Health Foundation office after dropping off the meals.
  • Saturday, June 27th around 10:00 AM: Get ready to wave to a princess! A Wish Your Heart Makes, a local vendor who supplies characters for events, will lead a horse-drawn carriage parade with live Disney Princesses around the Medical Center. The company would like to honor our team with this royal event, so be sure to join us around 10:00 AM for a chance to wave to your favorite Disney princess!

More Help Is On The Way

We have hired and are orienting nursing students to take on patient sitter roles, allowing our certified nursing assistants (CNAs) to return to patient care. What is the role of a “patient sitter”? The definition is in the name – patient sitters remain at the bedside of patients who are impulsive, may fall, or have the propensity to interfere with medical attention. These patients need one-on-one care to ensure their health and safety. Ten nursing students have been hired to date in this temporary part-time position.

Antibody Testing

All KD team members have received access to antibody test scheduling and availability has been expanded to patients of community physicians. As of Thursday, June 25, 2,300 team members have been tested with 85 (3.7%) individuals testing positive. Starting next week, antibody testing for medical staff and employees will only be available at the Mineral King Lab located in the basement of the Medical Center. Walk-ins are welcomed from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM.

A Special Night of Stars

On Thursday, June 25, Kaweah Health was proud to present the 2020 STARLIGHT AWARDS! This was a live broadcast event in recognition of Kaweah Health “stars” delivering excellent care and compassionate service. Chief Executive Officer Gary Herbst was our master of ceremonies for this virtual awards show honoring team members from every division of the District who exemplified our mission, vision, and pillars over the past year. Did you miss the awards show? Don’t worry – you can watch the recording online when it’s posted on our website this afternoon.

Food Deliveries

If you have food delivered to the Medical Center, please make every effort to meet your delivery person at the door. Please be courteous to our door screeners by not expecting them to accept and store food deliveries on your behalf. This practice has led to a food backlog issue at our entrances as a result of staff not meeting their delivery person at the door.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/25/2020)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 1,066 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health had 39 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/25/2020)

Kaweah Health has had 124 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 79 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, June 30.

Command Center Update
Thursday, June 18, 2020 – 7:00 PM

A message from our CEO to our physicians, providers, residents, and employees:

As a place of healing, Kaweah Health exists for the sole purpose of improving the health and wellbeing of our community. As a political subdivision of the State of California, we are responsible to the people of our community and not to a parent company or shareholders. Our great organization is governed by “the people”, a publicly elected volunteer board of local residents who care deeply for their neighbors and their community. Any revenue generated by our operations or other means is reinvested in our services, our staff, and our community. We take our responsibility to care for our community very seriously.

The community that we serve is diverse in all aspects of the word. That diversity is a strength and makes the Central Valley a special place. Kaweah Health reflects this same diversity. Our employees and physicians/providers consist of many different backgrounds. What unifies us, however, as health care workers is our passion and commitment to help others. Whether you are front-line clinical staff or in a support role, our employees and physician/provider partners are committed to providing compassionate care to all- no matter what their race, religion, age, national origin, disability, financial situation, sexual orientation, or insurance coverage. As an organization, we hold ourselves to this standard when treating patients and when hiring staff. While we truly believe that we have been very successful in these efforts, we are all committed to continuously getting better.

Our country, and indeed our world, is undergoing a period of distress, introspection, and change. Kaweah Health supports and respects racial diversity as well as fair and equal treatment for all. We condemn racism, bigotry, discrimination, and violence of any kind. We will continue to look inward at our organization for ways to improve, and we will look outward for ways that we can support the changes that our society needs to make. These are trying times and it is easy to get discouraged. We are optimistic, however, that our community, our nation, and the world will come out of this as a better place for all people.

Tomorrow, Friday the 19th at 12:00pm, I invite anyone interested to join me in a moment of silence and quiet reflection to exemplify our solidarity as colleagues dedicated to healing. I ask that you take this moment to pause wherever you are at the time, and to consider our mutual commitment to Kaweah Health’s Mission: Health is our passion. Excellence is our focus. Compassion is our promise.

Don’t Get Comfortable with COVID-19

Our state and community continues to reopen and has enabled us to resume a more normal way of life; however, it is important for us to keep health and safety at the top of our minds. The spread of COVID-19 continues to rise at a rapid pace in our communities and we should all do our best to stick to health guidelines, practice social distancing, wear masks, keep gatherings on a small scale, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often. Be mindful of washing your hands, refraining from potluck dinners, and embracing others without masks on. Yes – we are feeling fatigued by months of practicing these safety precautions but they are imperative to our health. Our COVID-19 response has been well-established and is feeling routine now; but that doesn’t mean we should relax practicing the safety measures we engaged in at the height of our fears. Don’t get too comfortable with COVID-19. Remain vigilant and do everything in your power to stay well so you can enjoy life as it picks back up again.

Masks Now Mandatory in California

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order today (Thursday, June 18) requiring Californians to wear face coverings in high-risk settings as the state continues to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. People will be required to wear masks or other coverings in public spaces, including while taking public transportation, seeking medical care, shopping and in most work scenarios. There are a few exceptions, including children under two, people eating or drinking in restaurants sitting six feet apart from other parties, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with disabilities or certain medical conditions. Gov. Newsom said the statewide measure was a necessary step because "we have many municipalities that require mandatory mask wearing, and people are simply not applying it.” Read more about the mandatory order here: www.covid19.ca.gov

Join The Huddle on Friday

The weekly KD Employee Huddle takes place on Friday, June 19th at 10:00 AM. Randy Kokka and Carla Hernandez will join us to talk about antibody testing, the Employee Relief Fund, and more. Pre-register at the link below. Can’t join the huddle? No problem – we’ll post the recording online and send the link out on Friday afternoon.

Give Blood, Give Life

This summer, we are hosting our annual summer blood drive off-site to keep our community and staff safe. Look for the Central California Blood Center bus parked at the Marriott Hotel on Court Street and consider donating in this time of need. If you plan to donate blood, don’t forget to eat well and hydrate beforehand. To register or read more about how to successfully donate, visit www.kaweahdelta.org/blooddrive.

  • Date and Time: Friday, June 19, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Location: Visalia Marriott, 300 S. Court Street, Visalia 93291
  • Required: Photo ID, must include photo and full name

A Special Night of Stars

Kaweah Health is proud to present the 2020 STARLIGHT AWARDS! This will be a live broadcast event in recognition of Kaweah Health “stars” delivering excellent care and compassionate service. Chief Executive Officer Gary Herbst will be our master of ceremonies for this virtual awards show honoring team members who exemplified our mission, vision, and pillars over the past year. Register to watch the awards at the link below.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/17/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 885 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. As of Wednesday, June 17, Kaweah Health had 38 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/17/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has had 111 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 66 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, June 23.


Command Center Update - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 – 7:45 PM

Keep up the fight! We are still in this. Our success is being determined by your tenacity and we will overcome.

Antibody Testing

All KD team members have received access to antibody test scheduling and availability has been expanded to patients of community physicians. As of Sunday, June 14, 1,910 team members have been tested with 58 (3.0%) individuals testing positive. Please continue to practice safety precautions to keep yourself and others safe! They really are protecting our team and community.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Maintain social distancing (6 feet apart) when around others.
  • Wear face masks in public spaces.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Monitor for symptoms of illness, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, and GI problems.

Upcoming “Parades”

  • Friday, June 26th around Noon: Join us outside the Medical Center for a two-lap motorcycle parade from 40 members of the La Raza Motorcycle Club who have taken the day off to thank and celebrate our Kaweah Health healthcare team. The LRMC riders will also be donating 150 meals for designated departments, and will begin the parade at the Kaweah Health Foundation office after dropping off the meals.
  • Saturday, June 27th around 10:00 AM: Get ready to wave to a princess! A Wish Your Heart Makes, a local vendor who supplies characters for events, will lead a horse-drawn carriage parade with live Disney Princesses around the Medical Center. The company would like to honor our team with this royal event, so be sure to join us around 10:00 AM for a chance to wave to your favorite Disney princess!

CDPH Visit

Today, we received a visit from the California Department of Public Health who arrived to check on our COVID-19 operations. The CDPH rounders visited COVID-19 areas in the Medical Center, including the ED, 3West, ICU, 2South, as well as the Mental Health and Rehab Hospitals on West Campus. The team reviewed PPE use, the universal masking program, COVID-19 patient care and processes, and other safety measures we have in place, as well as those we may implement in the future. Additionally, the CDPH rounders were impressed with our visitor screening process and appreciated our above and beyond efforts to create airflow changes in our COVID-19 units. The extra steps we’ve taken to ensure the safety of our team and patients were noted and although we have not received the final report, it appears we passed with flying colors! Thank you to our teams for your continued professionalism, adherence to COVID-19 policies, and commitment to providing superior patient care throughout the District.

Submit Your Questions – KD Employee Huddle

Submit your questions for this week’s Employee Huddle by Wednesday at 5:00PM to have them answered by members of our Leadership Team on Friday morning. Questions not answered during the huddle will be answered online or moved to next week’s huddle. Pre-register at the link below and join us live on Friday, June 19 at 10:00 AM.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/16/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has collected COVID-19 positive samples for 882 patients in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care, and clinic settings. Currently, Kaweah Health has 37 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees

Updated numbers will be available on Thursday, June 18th.


Command Center Update
Thursday, June 11, 2020 – 6:45 PM

"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." - Helen Keller

On New Year’s Eve, many of us toasted to 2020 being a year of new vision. Instead, the months that followed brought us turmoil we never saw coming. The world went into lockdown and took our good spirits with it. We got through our days with grit and hope, looking forward to the time we could sit in our favorite restaurant with our favorite people again. But as restrictions lift and the world reopens, many of us may be feeling discouraged by the new world we’re timidly entering. When COVID-19 hit our hometowns, it was easy for us to pin all our problems on the pandemic. It became a scapegoat for us to focus on – but, our sight is broadening now and it’s time to confront the issues COVID-19 may have blinded us from.

What are the pain points in your life? Or the issues you’ve been ignoring for much longer than our time in lockdown? Just as protesters have the right to demand change in our country, so do you have the right to demand change in your own life. Dig into your courage and don’t be afraid to cast new vision on old problems. 2020 may be half way over, but you’ve still got plenty of time to turn it around. Set your sights on the things that bring you joy and resolve to take one small step in their direction each day. Choose hope and toast to new vision again.

Hey, 2020 – it’s only halftime. We see victory ahead.

REMINDER: Antibody Testing Phone Line

If you have received an antibody test, please do not call the lab for your test results. All individuals will be informed about their results within 48 hours of taking their test. If you have not heard of your results within 48 hours of your test, please call the Employee Health COVID-19 Antibody Testing phone line at (559) 624-4037 during normal business hours (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/11/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 8,951 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 839 testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 28 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/9/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has had 96 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 53 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, June 16.

Command Center Update
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 – 6:15 PM

"Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths..." - Etty Hillesum

It’s been a rough few months for our country, and the last couple of weeks of unrest have rocked our already unstable communities to their cores. Right as we began feeling slight relief from COVID-19, our country entered into a different type of uncertainty as social justice protests continue to take place across the nation. As you navigate through the dynamic feelings and opinions that may be swirling through your being, please remember this: a lot of us are using energy we’ve never had to use before. This time of unprecedented unpredictability has caused us to search the depths of our souls to get through each day. Take time to recharge. Sometimes you have to disconnect and step away in order to come back strong and complete the mission that waits for you. Check in with yourself and listen to the demands of your mind, body, and soul because if you’re not your best self, you aren’t going to be of help to anyone else. Your family, friends, coworkers, and patients need you to take care of you first.

Life flies by, and sometimes turbulence causes the oxygen masks to come down. Remember to put your mask on first before helping the person sitting next to you. Pull the straps tight and take a deep breath. Friendly skies are ahead.

Conflicting Recommendations: CDC vs WHO

You may have heard by now that a top expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that asymptomatic transmissions of COVID-19 are “very rare.” This comment contradicts the messaging we have heard and, as expected, left many people questioning the validity of the safety measures our country has been thoroughly practicing since March, including social distancing and mask wearing. The WHO has since clarified this statement and backtracked saying the comment was a “misunderstanding.” Either way, it is important to know that Kaweah Health closely follows the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rather than the recommendations of the WHO. The reason for this being that the CDC is more conservative and traditionally takes the highest level of precaution, only decreasing safety precautions when evidence has been validated and shows it is safe to do so. At Kaweah Health, the health and safety of our patients and team are our top priorities. We will continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations to ensure we maintain best practices and the highest level of protection for everyone.

3West Transition

Maintenance has completed the 3West airflow transition and the unit is now able to house COVID-19 positive and non-COVID-19 patients, similar to ICU. 2South continues to be a respiratory isolation unit, housing a variety of patients with respiratory issues besides COVID, including pneumonia and tuberculosis.

NEW Registration Link – KD Employee Huddle

Submit your questions for this week’s Employee Huddle by Wednesday at 5:00PM to have them answered by members of our Leadership Team on Friday morning. Questions not answered during the huddle will be answered online or moved to next week’s huddle. Pre-register at the link below and tune in on Friday, June 12 at 10:00 AM.

Re-Opening The Lifestyle Center

We are very excited to announce that we have received approval from the State and the County and will be proceeding with a 4:30 AM re-opening of The Lifestyle Center this Friday, June 12. We are moving forward with a phased re-opening that puts the health and safety of our members and staff first. Today, we will post TLC’s phased I-III re-opening plan on our website and social media channels (attached). What you will notice is that in this first phase, we’ll re-open with cardio and strength equipment (spaced six feet apart throughout the facility and in the gymnasium area), along with the track, the lap pool, the warm water pool, and restrooms. We are following guidelines from the State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Medical Fitness Association. In order to gain entry, we will ask our members to undergo temperature checks, sanitize their hands, etc. The number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in Tulare County will determine the timeline of our phase II and phase III rollout. We will continue to monitor these statistics and hope that we will have moved into other phases of re-opening by July 1. Our TLC team has worked very hard behind-the-scenes to make this Friday re-opening a reality. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to keep our team and our community safe. Our hope is that it won’t be long until we can safely support a full re-opening of our facility. We know this has not been an easy time for any of us, but we hope this is a sign of good things to come.

Antibody Testing

Antibody test scheduling is now open to all KD team members. If you have not received an email with the scheduling link, please reach out to your manager. Kaweah Health is only providing one test per team member. If anyone would like to be tested again in the future, scheduling must be coordinated directly with your primary care provider. As of June 8, 1,300 KD team members have been tested for antibodies with 42 individuals testing positive.

What Antibody Test Results Tells Us

Positive Test Results: A positive antibody test result means you were exposed to COVID-19 at some point and had the virus in your body. As a result, antibodies built up and remain in your body to fight against the virus.

Negative Test Results: A negative antibody test result means you have not been exposed to COVID-19 and as a result, you do not have antibodies built up in your body.

Immunity: Science has not caught up to the rapid spread of COVID-19 so we do not yet know if positive or negative test results equal immunity. That is why team members who have recovered from COVID-19 and return to work will continue to mask, sanitize, and monitor themselves for symptoms.

Visitor Restrictions

Having to implement and enforce the visitor restriction policy continues to be the most difficult aspect of our COVID-19 response. Even still, it is imperative we continue to maintain the visitor restrictions and exceptions in place for the protection of our team, patients, and community. We are now allowing both parents to visit patients in the NICU; however, no other changes to the policy have been made. We recognize that a lighter restriction plan will need to be implemented in the near future, but we want to make sure we have the absolute best practices in place to protect everyone in the Medical Center before increasing our visitor volumes. Please remember that ALL visitors must go through the Acequia Wing entrance and must be screened before entering the Medical Center. Visitors after 6:00 PM can enter the Medical Center through the Mineral King Wing entrance. Thank you for your continued adherence to this very important policy.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/9/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 8,561 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 789 testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 27 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/9/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has had 96 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 53 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, June 16.

Command Center Update
Thursday, June 4, 2020 – 9:00 PM

Don’t Quit

By Edgar A. Guest

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low but the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit…
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!
Life is peculiar with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many failures turn about
When we might have won had we stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow…
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out…
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Handwashing – Your Easiest Defense

As our community opens up after lockdown, what happens next in the pandemic is being left up to the decisions each of us make: to observe social distancing, to wear a mask, and most of all, to wash our hands. The last of these is the simplest to do, and was the first piece of pandemic health care advice we got, but as we know by now, it’s challenging to do it consistently and well. Proper hand hygiene is a powerful tool to combat the spread of COVID-19. It’s common sense, simple, and effective; however, it must be done properly and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to truly be effective. When soap and water are not available, the next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Proper handwashing not only reduces the spread of Coronavirus, it can prevent the spread of other viral illnesses such as cold and flu, as well as easily spread infections, such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Good hand hygiene should be practiced at all times regardless of whether you show symptoms or not. This will help protect yourself and prevent unwittingly spreading the virus to others around you. Making the extra effort to protect yourself also protects the people you love and the people we serve. Whether at work, at home, or in public spaces, do your best to wash your hands frequently and remember to:

  • Think “Wash-Touch-Wash” when caring for your mask
  • Clean your hands when in contact with high touch areas
  • Clean your hands when you touch your mask or make any adjustments to your mask while it is on your face
  • Clean your hands when caring for a patient and leaving a patient’s room

One Small Ask, Please Wear A Mask

Face masks are a symbol of the pandemic era. While a few months ago anyone wearing a mask in public would have drawn stares, they are now a reminder of the strange times we live in. And as our community reopens to allow residents to mingle in the wider world again, growing numbers of people are opting to wear face masks in public. We know masks of any kind are not perfect barriers for contagion. Wearing one in public spaces doesn't offer absolute protection and shouldn't be thought of as a foolproof way to interact with others. But experts report that wearing a mask does help protect against transmission by asymptomatic carriers, and data shows that likely one in four people infected with COVID-19 are indeed asymptomatic and unaware of their contagion. Wearing a mask is cumbersome. It's hot, and it's uncomfortable. But wearing a mask helps save lives. Let’s do everything in our power to slow and prevent the spread of the virus in our community. We have one small ask… please wear a mask.

Antibody Testing

Antibody test scheduling is now open to all KD team members. Please be on the lookout for an email from your manager with more information, including the link to schedule your test. Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers to help keep you informed.

  • Who can be tested?

All Kaweah Health team members – including employees (onsite and remote), providers, and residents – who wish to be tested will have access to antibody testing. An order from your doctor is not required or needed.

  • Where will I be tested?

Lab draws take place at Urgent Care on Demaree or the Mineral King Wing Lab. You may choose whichever location is most convenient for you.

  • How much does it cost?

Thanks to the efforts of our Employee Health Department, testing will be provided at no charge to our team members.

  • Will the test be available to the community?

We will also be providing antibody testing to first responders in the community while we test our team. Once we have completed testing internally, the antibody test will be offered to community providers for patient testing.

  • Is testing required?

No, testing is voluntary and not required.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Please do not call the lab for your test results! You will be informed about your results within 48 hours. If you have not heard of your results by then, please call the Employee Health COVID-19 Antibody Testing phone line at (559) 624-4037 during normal business hours (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/4/2020 – 2:00 PM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 7,739 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 731 testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 33 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/2/2020 – 3:30 PM)

Kaweah Health has had 85 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 37 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, June 9.

Command Center Update
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 – 7:30 PM

As demonstrations erupt throughout the U.S., we have quickly learned that a pandemic is not threat enough to put a pause on protests for social justice. Demonstrations took our country by firestorm last week and set our cities ablaze over the weekend. This unrest comes at a time when tensions are already high and anxiety is abundant as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic. In any national crisis, we know rhetoric matters, but right now, our country is aching for more than niceties – we need our actions to speak louder than words. Yes, it is important to open our mouths against injustice but more imperative is the need to open our hearts and stand witness to the joy and sorrow of our neighbors. Empathy is an essential prerequisite for solidarity, and compassion is only possible when our hearts recognize and align with the joy and pain of others.

So many of us are likely feeling heavy-hearted by the events of the last week, and it’s okay if you don’t have the right words to say. Right now, it’s about more than the perfect words… it’s about listening, learning, taking action, and using our voices to share what truly matters. COVID-19 may have brought our community together but it is our charge now to remain united as one. Whether it is a threat to our health or a threat to the health of the heart of our nation, let’s apply the last line of our mission statement in all aspects of our lives and continue showing our community that we truly are in this together.

Health is our passion.

Excellence is our focus.

Compassion is our promise.

N95 Masks with Front Valves

Please take a look at the N95 mask with a front valve pictured below. This type of mask protects the user but does not protect the public or prevent the user from spreading COVID-19 to others nearby. This type of mask is designed for construction workers to use to keep out dust and other particles but does not stop virus droplets from escaping and infecting others. The front valve protects the inflow of air, not the outflow; therefore, is not in compliance with our Universal Masking Program and may only be worn when covered by a surgical mask. Please ask your manager for a surgical mask or pick one up from the Command Center.

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing is underway. The third wave of team members received scheduling access yesterday. The fourth and final wave will receive access by Thursday, June 4. Testing is voluntary and all team members who wish to be tested will be provided with the opportunity. Once every KD team member has been granted scheduling access, we will begin offering antibody tests to our local first responders, followed by patients of community providers. Not sure if you should be tested? Learn more by reading the attached Q&A guide to help you understand and make an informed decision. The resource guide is also posted on our internal webpage at the link below.

Link to Guide: www.kaweahdelta.org/antibody

Password: CovidInfo2020

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Please do not call the lab for your test results! You will be informed about your results within 48 hours. If you have not heard of your results by then, please call the Employee Health COVID-19 Antibody Testing phone line at (559) 624-4037 during normal business hours (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

Employee Huddle Questions

Submit your questions for this week’s Employee Huddle by Wednesday at 5:00PM to have them answered by members of our Leadership Team on Friday morning. Questions not answered during the huddle will be answered online or moved to next week’s huddle. Pre-register at the link below and join us on Friday, June 5 at 10:00 AM.

Telehealth Is Here To Stay – Make Your Appt. Today

Kaweah Health is proud to continue providing telehealth services at clinics across the county. Patients everywhere have access to video visits with their providers for select health services and all KD team members are encouraged to take advantage of this convenient service. Telehealth allows you to have a face-to-face interaction with a provider to receive the care you need without having to leave the comfort and safety of your home. Video visits provide patients with convenient, quality care from anywhere for medical conditions that do not require a physical assessment. Other benefits include no transportation time/costs, no need to take time off work, less chance of catching a new illness, and less time in waiting rooms. Call your provider to schedule your appointment today.

  • Urgent Care
  • Rural Health Clinics
    • Dinuba: (559) 595-7650
    • Exeter: (559) 592-7300
    • Lindsay: (559) 562-1546
    • Woodlake: (559) 564-1800
  • Therapy Specialists
    • (559) 624-3700
  • Sequoia Health and Wellness Center
    • (559) 624-4820
  • Visalia Medical Clinic
    • (559) 738-7500
  • Neurosciences Center
    • (559) 624-6570
  • Kaweah Health Specialty Clinic Center
    • (559) 624-4080

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 6/2/2020 – 4:00 PM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 7,302 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 698 (9.56%) testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 27 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 6/2/2020 – 3:30 PM)

Kaweah Health has had 85 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 37 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering. *Note: COVID-19 employee numbers will be updated on a weekly basis going forward. Numbers will be updated again on Tuesday, June 9.

Command Center Update
Friday, May 29, 2020 – 8:00 PM

"Tough times never last, but tough people do." - Robert H. Schuller

We have adjusted to life during the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent steps our organization took to protect the health of our patients, team, and the communities we serve. The rapid spread of the virus across the world and at home forced us to change our day-to-day lives and work processes at breakneck speed, and reminded us how closely connected we are to each other. So much change in such a short time period caused us to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the circumstances that surrounded us. But, in this prolonged time of deep uncertainty, we also gained a deeper understanding of our shared humanity.

Life has been unpredictable – at times frightening – but it has inspired kindness, connection, and a desire in our healthcare team and community to come together for the greater good. Though we would never choose for our community to face the last two and a half months of crisis we’ve walked through, we have received unexpected gifts along the way - a renewed value and affection for the people and places we love. We have faced the toughest time and our true nature has been revealed: we stayed in this together. We rose up to meet the challenges we faced. Tomorrow may be unknown, but whatever comes our way, we know we will walk through it… together.

Community Reopening – Stay Well

As our state and community lift stay-at-home orders and non-essential businesses reopen enabling us to resume old habits and visit family and friends, it is important to keep health and safety in mind going forward. The spread of COVID-19 remains active in our communities and we should all do our best to stick to health guidelines, practice social distancing, wear masks, and keep gatherings on a small scale. Be mindful of washing your hands, refraining from potluck dinners, and embracing others without masks on. Set up health safety expectations for yourself and your family and stick with them in the weeks and months to come. Remember, there is still a risk of transmission of this disease, so you need to weigh the risks and benefits of gathering together and practicing social distancing when out in public spaces. Life is on the move again – do everything in your power to stay well so you can enjoy it.

Antibody Testing

Thank you to the hundreds of employees and providers who have participated in antibody testing so far. Testing began on Tuesday, May 26 with two of four waves granted access to scheduling. Next week, the remaining two waves will receive access, completing the rollout of test scheduling. Testing is voluntary and all team members who wish to be tested will be provided with the opportunity. You may have a lot of questions about antibody tests and be wondering if you should be tested. To help you learn more, we’ve put together an easy-to-read Q&A guide to help you understand and make an informed decision. The resource guide is attached and posted on our internal webpage at the link below.

Link to Guide: www.kaweahdelta.org/antibody

Password: CovidInfo2020

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Please do not call the lab for your test results! You will be informed about your results within 48 hours. If you have not heard of your results by then, please call the Employee Health COVID-19 Antibody Testing phone line at (559) 624-4037 during normal business hours (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

Visitor Restrictions

Having to implement and enforce the visitor restriction policy has been the most difficult aspect of our COVID-19 response. Even still, it is imperative we continue to maintain the current visitor restrictions and exceptions in place for the protection of our team, patients, and community. No changes to the policy have occurred; however, in 3-6 weeks, we will move forward with a lighter restriction plan. Please remember that ALL visitors must go through the approved entrances listed below and must be screened before entering the Medical Center. Thank you for your continued adherence to this very important policy.

Mineral King Entrance- Screen Nurse Ext. 5176

Acequia Wing Entrance– Screen Nurse Ext. 5807

ASC/Surgery Center– Screen Nurse Ext. 5816

Universal Masking Still Required

Kaweah Health is committed to complying with and exceeding the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the protection of all team members, physicians, and patients. Our work to maintain the highest level of safety and quality is very dependent on the individual actions of each team member and each of your personal commitment to protecting yourself, others, and our patients. To this end, we have implemented a universal masking program requiring employees to wear a mask at all times within Kaweah Health facilities with the following exceptions:

Employees may remove their masks while on break or lunch provided social distancing is maintained.

Employees may remove their masks if alone in an office/room.

Employees may remove their masks short-term for comfort if others are masked and/or social distancing is maintained.

KD Employee Huddle – Available Online

The weekly Kaweah Health Employee Huddle is available to view online at the link below. Watch the huddle to learn more about antibody testing, visitor restrictions, the Employee Relief Fund, and much more. Do you have a question you want answered? Submit your questions to dvolosin@kdhcd.org before Wednesdays at 5:00 PM, and then tune in every Friday at 10:00 AM to watch them addressed by members of our Leadership Team.

Huddle Web Link: https://www.kaweahdelta.org/EmployeeInfo/KD-Employee-Huddle/May-29-Employee-Huddle.aspx

Password: CovidInfo2020

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 5/29/2020 – 2:00 PM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 6,782 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 677 (9.98%) testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 31 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 5/29/2020 – 3:00 PM)

Kaweah Health has had 73 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 34 have recovered and returned to work (six more since Wednesday); one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, four providers have tested positive and three have returned to work after recovering.

Command Center Update
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 – 7:45 PM

"Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting." - Joyce Meyer

As we wait for our community to open back up, our entire beings are boiling over with feelings of deep restlessness. Our minds, bodies, and souls are aching to escape the walls of our homes and venture out into the world beyond our property lines. If delayed gratification is the definition of maturity, then our names are surely written in the dictionary by now. Restlessness makes us feel sad, resentful, and anxious but the truth is that our finest moments most commonly occur when we are feeling intensely unfulfilled, uncomfortable, and unhappy. It is in these moments, propelled by our distress, that we are likely to step out of our emotional ruts and discover new answers about what makes us happy and feel restful.

In other words, your restlessness can be a catalyst for action. When we are unhappy with our situations, we must go in search of the people, things, and activities that bring us joy. Discovering what your soul truly desires can propel you to change, grow, and become the person you want to be. But, remember: you don’t have to drastically change your life to live more fully, you just need to open your heart to the idea that joy still exists in self-isolation. Let your restlessness be your motivator – your ignition – on the road to a better life after quarantine. Turn your self-isolation into self-discovery and the world outside your front door will seem bigger than it was before.

Antibody Testing Underway

Antibody testing began on Tuesday, May 26 and more than 200 team members have been tested so far during Phase One. The next round of scheduling will begin later this week for team members in Phase Two who wish to be tested. You may have a lot of questions about antibody tests and whether or not you should be tested. To help you learn more, we’ve put together an easy-to-read Q&A guide to help you understand and make an informed decision. The resource guide is attached and posted on our internal webpage at the link below.

Link to Guide: www.kaweahdelta.org/antibody

Password: CovidInfo2020

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Please do not call the lab for your test results! You will be informed about your results within 48 hours. If you have not heard of your results by then, please call the Employee Health COVID-19 Antibody Testing phone line at (559) 624-4037 during normal business hours (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

TLC Re-Opening Update

As part of our demobilization process, we have been working to determine when it is safe to open The Lifestyle Center. We have decided that for the safety of our staff and our members, we simply cannot ignore the Governor’s mandate to remain closed due to the presence of COVID-19 in Tulare County. That said, we are actively working to make sure that when we get the green light from the Governor, we are able to open. We hope to be able to come to you soon with an announcement that we are opening. Here are some of the changes we are putting in place for our staff and our members’ safety:

  • Safety Screenings: We’ll be screening all members’ temperatures and having them answer a series of questions to ensure they do not pose a risk to others.
  • Moving Equipment: We’re opening cardio and strength equipment first, so we’re moving equipment, some into the gymnasium, to make sure everyone can be six feet apart from each other.
  • Thorough Cleaning: We’re continuing our use of hospital-grade cleaners to meet all guidelines for cleanliness and safety set by the State and Federal government.
  • Member Limits: We are exploring limiting the number of members in the facility at any one time, but in a way that will not impact our members.
  • Temporary Closures: For your safety, we will not immediately open the following – pools, locker rooms (other than restrooms), childcare, group classes, or basketball court activities. We will evaluate these closures on a daily basis and when it safe to re-open these, we will.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 5/27/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 6,494 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 649 (9.99%) testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 24 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 5/27/2020 – 3:00 PM)

Kaweah Health has had 71 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 28 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized. In addition, three providers have tested positive and two have returned to work after recovering. Since Monday, May 25, we have had eight team members (seven employees and one physician) recover!

Command Center Update
Friday, May 22, 2020 – 7:30 PM

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." - George Lucas

We’re tired. We’re grouchy. We’re over it. COVID-19 still has a stronghold on many aspects of our lives and we’re desperate for a looser grip. We’re being told this situation will continue to be a major part of our lives in the months to come and the thought is enough to mentally fatigue even the most resilient person. We’re going to need more than Red Bull and diligence to keep up the pace as time goes on. So the question is: how do we replenish our mental energy in the face of this fatiguing pandemic? Research shows feeling grateful is one answer. We may not like the state of our jobs right now, but regardless, there are still things to be grateful for. Case in point – you have a job when others don’t. Maybe your co-workers make you laugh or the benefits make you feel secure. The reason gratitude for the things, people, and circumstances in our lives has such a refreshing effect is because feeling grateful increases our positive emotions and helps us open our eyes to see the big picture.

Gratitude permits us to acknowledge and open our hearts to the goodness in our lives. In moments of gratitude, the source of this goodness is also revealed, helping us connect to something larger than ourselves. What are you grateful for today? Who or what is a source of goodness in your life? Invest in those things and in those people, and you’ll be making an investment in the refreshment of your soul.

Successful Expansion of Surgical Services

On Monday, May 18th, we expanded our services by increasing our elective surgical procedure availability for all patients whose care has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since Monday, we successfully completed an average of 40 inpatient and outpatient procedures/surgeries per day. We will continue to monitor our service availability closely to ensure we have capacity for elective patients and patients needing medical and emergency care. Kaweah Health has been a leader in the Valley’s fight against COVID-19 and our team continues to take every precaution to provide the community with care that meets the highest standards of safety and quality.

Should you get an antibody test?

You may have a lot of questions about antibody tests and whether or not you should be tested. To help you learn more, we’ve put together an easy-to-read Q&A guide to help you understand and make an informed decision. The resource guide is attached and posted on our internal webpage.

Link to Guide: www.kaweahdelta.org/antibody

Password: CovidInfo2020

KD Employee Huddle – Available Online

The weekly Kaweah Health Employee Huddle is available to view online at the link below. Keri Noeske, Dianne Cox, and Gary Herbst joined us to answer questions related to demobilization, masking, the County reopening, and more. All webinars are posted online on Friday afternoons. Watch this morning’s session at the link below.

Huddle Web Link: https://www.kaweahdelta.org/EmployeeInfo/KD-Employee-Huddle/May-22-Employee-Huddle.aspx

Password: CovidInfo2020

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 5/22/2020 – 11:00 AM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 5,847 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 582 (9.95%) testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 25 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 5/22/2020 – 3:20 PM)

Kaweah Health has had 59 employees test positive for COVID-19 and 21 have recovered and returned to work; one employee remains hospitalized (one discharged yesterday). In addition, three providers have tested positive and one has returned to work after recovering.

Command Center Updates – Frequency Reduced

Thanks to the valiant efforts of our medical staff and employees, the COVID-19 situation continues to stabilize in our organization. As a result of our well-established and effective operations, our daily update from the Command Center will be reduced, likely delivered three days per week (Mon/Wed/Fri). Additional updates will be delivered on an as needed basis.

Command Center Update
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 – 7:45 PM

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius

It has been almost 70 days since we journeyed into the unknown world of COVID-19. Since the moment the virus first touched our community, our team has rallied, cried, cheered, and fought against this invisible enemy together. Day one came, the alarm bell rang, and our army rose up. You stepped forward and you stood in the trenches –scared, hopeful, and unwavering. Your courage is seen but our work isn’t done. We’re still in this fight. The battlefield may be quieting but don’t let your guard down. Protect yourself by wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands often. There is still work to do and we need your help to win this war.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of our medical staff and employees, the COVID-19 situation continues to stabilize in our organization. As a result of our well-established and effective operations, our daily update from the Command Center will be reduced to three days per week (Mon/Wed/Fri). Additional updates will be delivered as needed.

Antibody Testing – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can be tested?

All Kaweah Health team members – including employees (onsite and remote), providers, and residents – who wish to be tested will have access to antibody testing. An order from your doctor is not required or needed.

  • When can I be tested?

To ensure we do not inundate our Lab Services team, a phased process will be implemented with the first wave of testing beginning on Tuesday, May 26 for team members who have been in our highest risk areas. The following phases will move to other patient care areas and areas with minimal patient contact, before being offered to team members in non-patient care areas.

  • How will I know when it’s my turn to be tested?

The Command Center will notify leadership when it’s their team’s turn to be tested. Leaders will then notify all members on their teams, including employees on Leave of Absences. Teams will have about 4 – 6 days to schedule their test before the next group is given access to scheduling.

  • How do I schedule my test?

A scheduling link will be provided allowing you to schedule your own testing appointment. The Command Center will provide this link to Leaders who will then share with their teams when their testing window becomes available.

  • Where will I be tested?

Lab draws will take place at Urgent Care on Demaree or the Mineral King Wing Lab. You may choose whichever location is most convenient for you.

  • How much does it cost?

Thanks to the efforts of our Employee Health Department, testing will be provided at no charge to our team members.

  • Will the test be available to the community?

We will also be providing antibody testing to first responders in the community while we test our team. Once we have completed testing internally, the antibody test will be offered to community providers for patient testing.

  • Is testing required?

No, testing is voluntary and not required.

Wondering If You Should Be Tested?

You may have a lot of questions about antibody tests and whether or not you should be tested. To help you learn more, we’ve put together an easy-to-read Q&A guide to help you understand and make an informed decision. The resource guide will be available tomorrow in your KD inbox and posted on our internal webpage. Knowledge is power, and knowledge shared is power multiplied! More to come.

Social Distancing Opportunities

Thank you for your efforts to social distance in your work environments by modifying work areas. Please continue to look for social distancing opportunities in your work spaces, lobbies, break rooms, and other communal areas. Our diligence and commitment to social distancing will help us reduce employee exposures and protect the health and safety of our teams, patients, and community.

COVID-19 Testing Numbers (as of 5/20/2020 – 1:00 PM)

Kaweah Health has collected samples for a total of 5,512 patient tests in the inpatient, outpatient, ED, urgent care and clinic settings. A majority of these cases are outpatient tests with 557 (10.1%) testing positive. Kaweah Health currently has 29 positive inpatients. These patients are located on 2South, ICU, and ICCU.

COVID-19 Positive Employees (as of 5/20/2020 – 3:00 PM)