Kaweah Delta announces visitor policy modifications, restores elective surgeries
Kaweah Delta announces visitor policy modifications, restores elective
VISALIA, CA – Due to a continued decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations,
Kaweah Delta has restored elective surgeries and effective Monday, Oct.
19, the Medical Center will modify its visitor policy.
“Things have changed. The pandemic has had its peaks and valleys.
We’re experiencing a valley right now,” said Gary Herbst,
Kaweah Delta’s Chief Executive Officer, noting that the Medical
Center cares for approximately 20 COVID-19 patients on most days, down
from hospital’s all-time high of 91 COVID patients in July. “We
also recently dipped into the teens and that’s really the break
we’ve been hoping for.”
The visitor policy modification will generally allow patients of Kaweah
Delta Medical Center, who are not in isolation for COVID-19 (with the
exception of patients in the Emergency Department and those having surgery)
to have one unique visitor each day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. provided they:
- Pass a COVID-19 screening prior to 6 p.m. at the hospital’s Acequia
- Have not recently tested positive for COVID-19.
- Are not in quarantine for COVID-19 (pending testing, exposure, etc.).
- Are older than 12 years old.
- Wear a surgical face mask.
- Remain in the patient’s room except to use the restroom or get food.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome back our visitors and
families. Limiting visitors was one of the most difficult actions that
we had to take during this pandemic even though safety was at the forefront
of it,” Herbst said. “We are a compassionate organization
and we know how critically important it is to be surrounded by friends
and family when you are in the hospital.”
Herbst noted that while a unique visitor will be allowed, that’s
one visitor per patient, per day, not several visitors who rotate through
an hour at a time. “Again, every time you have another visitor,
that’s just one more potential exposure to COVID,” said Herbst,
noting that 50-80 percent of individuals who are infected with COVID-19
experience no symptoms. “That’s really what we are trying
to limit, but we will continue to monitor COVID developments and refine
our visitor policies when and where we can.”
Kaweah Delta’s Emergency Department only allows visitors in the following
- End-of-life patients
- Patients whose conditions are deteriorating rapidly and need family by
- Patients who are having major surgery, trauma, and at high risk of death
- Patients requiring supervision
- Patients who are children.
Also Monday, Oct. 19, expanded visitation will take place with residents
of Kaweah Delta’s skilled nursing facility on Court Street. Residents
will be able to identify two visitors who will then be scheduled during
the week to come for a visit in a controlled setting. Kaweah Delta’s
Rehabilitation Hospital will continue scheduling family visitors as needed
for continuity of care and training for care at home. And starting Monday,
Oct. 26, patients having surgery can have a visitor provided they meet
all screening requirements.
“We know that there are people who need surgery, but have been reluctant
to have surgery knowing that they couldn’t have a visitor with them.
The decision to modify the visitor policy goes hand-in-hand with elective
surgeries,” Herbst said. “These changes will definitely help
those who have quality of life issues that need to be attended to with
a surgical procedure.”
In May, Kaweah Delta resumed non-emergent essential surgeries and put a
number of safety measures in place, of which the following will remain in place:
- Testing every scheduled surgical patient for COVID-19, 72-96 hours prior
- Pre-screening all patients the night before and the morning they arrived
for their procedure
- Screening all visitors who enter the Medical Center.
- Universal masking for all individuals in the Medical Center, including
surgical patients, employees and medical staff.
- Enhanced facility cleaning and usage of personal protective equipment for
- Maintaining isolated units for COVID-19 care
- Requiring medical staff and employees to self-monitor for symptoms prior
to reporting to every shift.
Also starting next week, the hospital will begin its safety screening of
Emergency Department (ED) and Labor and Delivery patients inside of the
hospital’s Mineral King Wing (off Mineral King Avenue). The change
is in response to the decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the decreased
rate of COVID-related ED visits. This will also allow the hospital to
continue construction on its ED, which is estimated to be complete in
Spring 2021. As a result of this continued construction, beginning in
November, the current Emergency Department parking lot entrance on Mineral
King Avenue will be closed, and patients will have to use the entrance
on Locust Street to enter the Emergency Department parking lot. Detour
signage is being placed throughout downtown Visalia.
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. #