Kaweah Delta starts season of employee flu vaccinations Oct. 1 to protect patients
Nearly 1,000 staff flu shots will be given on first day; Public urged to
get vaccinations early
VISALIA – Kaweah Delta will start its season of vaccinations on Tuesday,
Oct. 1, in an effort to keep patients and visitors safe from the flu as
part of its requirement that all staff either get a flu vaccination or
wear a facemask during cold and flu season.
On this first day of vaccinations, it is estimated that nearly 1,000 of
Kaweah Delta’s more than 5,000 employees will get their flu shot
to protect patients and visitors this cold and flu season (vaccinations
are given at no cost to employees, as well as medical staff providers
and residents). Kaweah Delta’s compliance with the requirement that
all staff either get a flu vaccination or wear a facemask during cold
and flu season has made it a leader in the state. Kaweah Delta employees
have until Nov. 1 to get a flu shot or they will need to wear a facemask
during work hours. For the safety of patients and themselves, all volunteers
must receive a flu vaccine.
“This is no small undertaking, but staff at Kaweah Delta are concerned
about the patients they care for,” said Shawn Elkin, Kaweah Delta’s
Infection Prevention Manager.
Kaweah Delta’s staff influenza vaccination rate has been 98 percent
for the past two years, which exceeds the national Healthy People goal
of 90 percent, Elkin said. The latest information available from the California
Department of Public Health (CDPH) shows that Kaweah Delta’s staff
influenza vaccination rate ranked the hospital in a tie for the fifth
highest in the state beside Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USC Kenneth Norris
Jr. Cancer Hospital, UC San Diego Health Hillcrest and La Jolla Jacobs
Medical Center, both in San Diego.
Influenza vaccination coverage among health care personnel is an important
measure of a hospital’s health care quality, according to CDPH.
Health care personnel who receive annual influenza vaccination make an
important contribution to prevent transmission of influenza to high-risk
patients, their families, and the community.
Back in 2015-16, Kaweah Delta began requiring all staff to either get a
flu vaccination or wear a face mask during cold and flu season. Since
that time, Kaweah Delta’s rate has gone from 77 percent to 98 percent,
Although Kaweah Delta has already seen cases of the flu this season, it
will officially begin its surveillance and reporting of cases to the Tulare
County Health and Human Services Agency from Oct. 1 through March 31,
2020. Also in an effort to keep patients safe, Kaweah Delta has a year-round
visitor policy in place, which helps facilitate a quiet, healing environment
for patients, said Kathy Wittman, Kaweah Delta’s Infection Prevention
Data Coordinator. The policy notes that the minimum age a person can be
to visit patient floors is age 12, otherwise they can wait in the hospital’s
lobbies accompanied by an adult (unless they have received special approval
for extenuating circumstances).
If the U.S.’s flu season is anything like what Australia has experienced
as it approaches the end of the regular season, the seasonal onset pattern
is similar to the 2017 season, Wittman said. In Australia, influenza A
represented 80 percent of the cases, while influenza B represented 20
percent of the cases, Wittman said.
“People should get their influenza vaccination early in the season,
as soon as it is available, with the reminder that it takes two weeks
for full immunity to begin,” she said. “This flu vaccine is
a good match; it was updated to provide better coverage to the different
strains of the flu.”
Starting Oct. 7, flu shots are available at Kaweah Delta Urgent Care locations
in Visalia for patients 3 years and older. Cost: $30. When people experience
cold and flu symptoms, Kaweah Delta urges the public to seek care from
their personal physicians for conditions that are not life-threatening
or will not require hospitalization. When that is not possible or the
condition is urgent, but not life-threatening, people are urged to visit
an urgent care facility or a walk-in clinic instead of the emergency department.
The following locations are available:
Kaweah Delta Urgent Care: 1633 S. Court St., Visalia, 624-6090
Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Kaweah Delta Urgent Care: 3600 W. Flagstaff Ave., Visalia, 624-6800
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Sequoia Prompt Care: 1110 S. Ben Maddox Way, Visalia, 624-4800
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekdays; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
on Sundays (Closed on Christmas and New Years).
Visalia Medical Clinic’s QuickCare: 5400 W. Hillsdale Ave., Visalia, 738-7555
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekdays; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 2
p.m. on Sundays
If people do not have a physician and need one, a same-day appointment
may be available by calling:
Visalia Family Medicine Center: 202 W. Willow Ave. (5th floor), Visalia, 624-4820
Additionally during this time, Kaweah Delta is urging patients for their
protection and for the protection of others coming to the emergency department,
to bring just one guest.
The following conditions/injuries (not an exhaustive list) can be treated
at Kaweah Delta Urgent Care, Sequoia Prompt Care, or Visalia Medical Clinic’s
- Fever or flu symptoms (cold, sore throat, cough)
- Sprains, broken bones, fractures
- Mild asthma/breathing difficulties
- Abdominal pain
- Cuts (minimal blood, stitches or staples)
- Ear infections
- Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
- Animal bites
- Urinary tract infectionsp
- Burns or chemical exposure
- Infected wounds
The following conditions/injuries should be treated at Kaweah Delta’s
- Heart attacks/strokes
- Uncontrollable severe bleeding
- Sudden or severe pain
- Coughing blood or vomiting blood
- Severe breathing difficulties
- Sudden dizziness, weakness or vision changes
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Changes in mental status/confusion
- Open bone fractures
If you are experiencing any of these conditions, please call 911 immediately.