Kaweah Delta Chief Executive Officer answers community's COVID-19 questions
Kaweah Delta Chief Executive Officer answers community’s COVID-19 questions
Info shared on inpatient testing, number of COVID-19 positive employees and more
VISALIA – As the number of cases rise in Tulare County, many people
have questions and concerns about COVID-19. On Thursday, in a video-conference
call, Gary Herbst, Kaweah Delta’s Chief Executive Officer, answered
questions from Tulare County residents.
Question: How many positive COVID-19 cases are in Tulare County? How many people
have died from COVID-19 in Tulare County? How many have recovered? How
many COVID-19 positive patients are at Kaweah Delta? How many people has
Kaweah Delta collected specimens from for COVID-19 testing?
Answer: As of April 16, there have been 372 positive cases of COVID-19 in Tulare
County. Of those, 17 have died and 22 people have recovered. As of April
16, Kaweah Delta Medical Center is caring for 23 patients who have tested
positive for COVID-19. As of April 16, Kaweah Delta has collected 1,977
specimens. Of those, 173 have tested positive for COVID-19, 1,676 have
tested negative and test results are pending for 128 patients.
Question: What is Kaweah Delta doing to help Redwood Springs?
Answer: Since concerns surfaced last week that state and local health officials
might close the Visalia nursing facility due to a lack of staffing, Kaweah
Delta, along with Sierra View and Adventist Health Tulare, provided immediate
staffing assistance over the weekend. Kaweah Delta nursing staff also
provided assistance on Monday and Wednesday. Kaweah Delta has compiled
a list of approximately 25 Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses,
Certified Nursing Assistants, Medical Assistants, etc. who are ready and
willing to help care for patients at Redwood Springs, if needed. Additionally,
Kaweah Delta has also provided technical support, personal protective
equipment, and Kaweah Delta’s recently retired Director of Nursing
Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Services has come out of retirement
to provider leadership support to Redwood Springs.
Question: In light of the new outbreak at Lindsay Gardens, what is Kaweah Delta
doing to keep its skilled nursing patients safe?
Answer: To date, Kaweah Delta has not had a patient in its skilled nursing program
contract COVID-19. Kaweah Delta put the facility where its skilled nursing
program operates on lock down almost immediately, instituting a no-visitor
policy. Only patients who are near death may have a visitor. Additionally,
Kaweah Delta screens its employees there daily when they arrive to work
and whenever they return to the facility throughout the day. This includes
taking temperatures and checking for symptoms of COVID-19. Employees with
symptoms may not enter the building and must quarantine themselves. Two
weeks ago, Kaweah Delta mandated that all employees wear a facemask at
work. Employees are asked to practice social distancing, perform regular
and proper hand hygiene, and constantly disinfect surfaces.
Question: How many Kaweah Delta employees have tested positive for COVID-19?
Answer: While Kaweah Delta staff are exercising an abundance of caution, 21 of
Kaweah Delta’s 5,000 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
Kaweah Delta sent all home to quarantine. Three of those 21 have now fully
recovered and are back at work after testing negative for COVID-19. None
of these employees have required hospitalization.
Question: Is Kaweah Delta’s in-house COVID-19 testing ready?
Answer: Yes. Kaweah Delta now has the ability to collect a specimen from any patient
inside its Medical Center and test it for COVID-19. Results are available
in minutes without having to send specimens to Tulare County Public Health
Laboratory. This allows Kaweah Delta to do testing of any employee, physician
or resident, who may exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. Additionally, Kaweah
Delta can determine whether someone who came to the Emergency Department,
but needs to be admitted to the hospital has COVID-19 prior to admission.
Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency advises if you think you
have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory
illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your primary physician or 2-1-1.
Additionally, people can call (559) 624-4110, Kaweah Delta’s free
COVID-19 hotline allows an individual with COVID-19 symptoms, to schedule
a same-day appointment with a nurse practitioner. Kaweah Delta shares
COVID-19 information and regular updates with the community on its website at
www.kaweahdelta.org/COVID19 and on its social media accounts.