Kaweah Delta re-opens essential services as Tulare County works to re-open for business
Kaweah Delta re-opens essential services as Tulare County works to re-open
VISALIA, CA – As Tulare County works to re-open businesses and places
of worship, Kaweah Delta Health Care District is working to bring essential
services back online in the safest possible way.
On Monday, June 1, Kaweah Delta will continue its phased re-opening approach
by bringing its Cardiac Rehabilitation Program back online. This phased
approach began May 18, when Kaweah Delta reopened elective surgeries and
procedures. Kaweah Delta’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, helps
people improve their health and recover after a cardiac-related event
or procedure. Also June 1, all patients entering Kaweah Delta facilities
will be asked to wear a face mask (hospital patients, outpatient lab,
imaging, and Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation/Visalia Medical Clinic patients,
etc.). In addition, to further protect patients and staff, Kaweah Delta
has placed Plexiglass in patient registration areas and installed stickers
on floors to ensure social distancing is being practiced.
“As the community around us continues to re-open, we are seeing more
patients in the Medical Center for a variety of reasons. Our Emergency
Department continues to get busier as people begin to re-engage in normal
activities,” said Dr. Ryan Gates, Kaweah Delta’s Vice President
of Population Health, noting that Kaweah Delta is carefully monitoring
patient volumes in order to maintain capacity for any potential surge.
“We’re committed to working with Tulare County and our community
as we all strive to find our new normal and with how well things have
gone with re-opening elective surgeries, we’re confident we will.”
Kaweah Delta has taken a slow, cautious approach to re-opening services.
“We are reintroducing services knowing that we have the flexibility
to flex them down at any time,” Dr. Gates said. “We have taken
a close look at where access has been limited to our community and are
prioritizing our efforts to get those services back up and running in
the safest way.”
Dr. Gates co-chairs the Tulare-Kings COVID-19 Coalition along with Annette
Burgos of Tulare County’s public health department where leadership
from all the hospitals, health centers, medical society, etc. work together
to share best practices, resources and data that informs our County’s
ability to re-open.
Already, Kaweah Delta has resumed a number of services, including elective
surgeries (these patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to surgery). In
order to bring additional services back online, next week Kaweah Delta
will begin to wind down its labor pool, comprised of employees whose departments
closed due to COVID-19. These employees were stationed at facility entrances
conducting temperature checks and safety screenings; screenings will continue,
but now will be performed in patient registration areas. The healthcare
district has asked its employees who are working remotely to continue
working from home until July 6. Also, this week, nearly 400 employees
were tested for the presence of antibodies to COVID-19; all 5,000 employees
are being offered the test.
Kaweah Delta is also working to retrofit a building on its Court Street
campus so that it can move its COVID-19 specimen collection site from
downtown Visalia in mid-June. The move would allow the City of Visalia
to open Floral Street between Main Street and Acequia Avenue, which has
been closed since April and will bring the testing inside air-conditioned
space just in time for the coming summer heat.
In an effort to encourage safety in the community, Kaweah Delta asks the
community to continue following safe practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- Maintain social distancing (6 feet apart)
- Wear face masks
- Clean/disinfect frequently-touched surfaces
- Monitor for symptoms of illness (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss
of taste or smell, or GI problems, etc.)
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.