Frequently Asked Questions
Community Engagement Virtual Meeting
Community Engagement Virtual Meeting - Thursday, February 25, 2021
QUESTIONS FOR 02/25/2021 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MEETING
CURRENT NUMBERS FOR COUNTY
Positive Cases in Kaweah Delta
59 plus 1 suspected in the ED
Positive Employees at Kaweah Delta
32 w/ additional 6 quarantined
88.4% occupied acute adult inpatient beds
- Can you give us a vaccination update? Are we getting closer to the vaccines
being available at KD’s urgent cares and clinics?
- Tulare County has now received 63,225 vaccine doses and has administered
37,985 of them; I don’t know how many first dose vs. second dose.
Kaweah Delta will begin vaccinating eligible and highest-risk patients
that are currently established with one of our rural health clinics beginning
this week. We are not yet vaccinating the general public but are working
towards that with Blue Shield of California, the recently-contracted third
party administrator to the State.
- What are your thoughts on the New York nursing home numbers not being properly
- First and foremost, I am deeply saddened for the families of those nursing
home patients who lost a loved one to COVID. In Tulare County, we have
lost 187 nursing home patients to COVID. As far as my thoughts on the
underreporting of COVID-19-related nursing home patient deaths in New
York, I am certainly disappointed to hear it and I am very proud of the
honesty and transparency that has guided Kaweah Delta throughout this
entire pandemic. I know that we have done everything possible to protect
our skilled nursing home patients from becoming infected and that our
staff even went and worked in community nursing homes early on in the
pandemic to help protect their staff and patients.
- The need for staffing has been discussed several times on these webinars.
Now that positive community and employee numbers are declining have your
staffing needs leveled out?
- Yes, our staffing resources are greatly improved. Over the one-year life
of this pandemic, 1,143 of our employees and 30 of our providers have
contracted the virus; only 32 of our employees and none of our providers
are still out on a COVID-related leave of absence. With great sadness,
three employees and one provider passed away from the virus. Two of our
employees are currently hospitalized with COVID and six of our employees
are quarantined at home because they live with someone who is positive.
- We still have a number of nurse travelers supporting us (22 procured from
the State and 40 on our own) and we have hired many new nurses and LVNs
over this past year. We are definitely in better shape than we were just
a few months ago.
- Are we close to the Lifestyle Center reopening? Before it closed the last
time, social distancing measures had already been put into place. Will
the state require additional measures or is the facility ready to open?
- I sure hope so. The County reported yesterday that our 7-day positivity
rate sits at 7.0% which qualifies us for the Tier 2 Red category under
the Governor’s “Blue Print for a Safer Economy” program;
however, our adjusted 7-day Average New Cases per 100,000 population rate
sits at 18.4 and it needs to be at 7 or below; our Health Equity Positivity
Rate also needs to be below 8.0% and it’s sitting at 9.5%. But,
all numbers are going in the right direction. As soon as we qualify for
the Red Tier, we intend to immediately reopen, adhering to the State’s
guidelines of 25% occupancy, social distancing, disinfection and wearing
masks, even while exercising. Patrick Tazio, our TLC Director, and Jag
Batth are already mobilizing the gym for reopening. While the State is
indicating that gymnasium pools cannot be reopened until a County moves
from Red to Orange (Tier 3), we intend to follow the CDC’s guidelines
which allows for the reopening of the pool.
- Can you give us an update on the ED and Tulare Clinic?
The ED Expansion Project was scheduled to receive its final OSHPD inspection
on March 4th and, if all went well, we would have received our Certificate of Occupancy
the next day. Unfortunately, earlier today we experienced problems trying
to balance the air handlers in the newly-expanded area and now need to
order and replace some of them. Disappointedly, this will likely push
our final inspection date back to March 27th. While this may result in an opening delay, we will still proceed now
with installing computers, monitors, beds, supplies and everything else
necessary to prepare for treating patients. We are still hoping for CDPH
inspection in mid-to-late April and start seeing patients immediately
after getting their green light.
- With respect to our Tulare rural health clinic, we have received our Certificate
of Occupancy and are now “stocking and staffing” with all
of the same things I just mentioned for the ED.We also hope to receive
CDPH approval in March to start seeing patient the first of April.
- If you could go back to the beginning of the pandemic, is there anything
KD would do differently?
- If I knew everything I know now and could take that knowledge and experience
back to the beginning of the pandemic, there is probably much I would
do differently, beginning with a mass acquisition of PPE, medications,
supplies and staff; I wouldn’t have shut down surgery so quickly
for the surge that never came (until it did in July); I probably would
have instituted more strict PPE and disinfection compliance with employees
and providers to better protect them from contracting the virus from COVID-positive
patients; and I would have been able to tell the community just how infectious
and deadly this virus is and how their behaviors and habits really do
work (i.e., the surge that never came after Christmas and New Year’s).
- Cases per 100k, who determines that more than 7 cases per 100k is wide
spread, who makes that determination?
- I don’t really know the answer to this question but ultimately it
is the Governor of California who makes these decisions. I know he has
an entire task force devoted to the pandemic and I would imagine he takes
counsel from them. I do not know if other states have similar “phase”
models or programs for opening and closing services and their local economy.