Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught announced on March 13 that a second individual has tested positive for COVID-19 in Tulare County. The individual is in stable condition and self-isolating at home. It is known that the individual traveled out of the area to the Bay Area before showing symptoms. Tulare County Public Health Branch is currently conducting an investigation with Kaweah Delta, where the patient presented to be tested. Due to protected health information requirements and to maintain the patient’s identity, we are not able to further disclose information about this case.
“We are hoping this patient recovers fully,” said, Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “The safety and well-being of our community remains our top priority and our staff are working around the clock to ensure our community remains safe.”
It has been determined that Kaweah Delta employees followed proper infection prevention protocols throughout contact with the individual and there is no reason to believe that anyone was infected during this time. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Kaweah Delta is closely monitoring all employees who came in contact with the patient, and will test and treat anyone who displays symptoms.
Tulare County Public Health Branch continues to work with Kaweah Delta Hospital the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to locate and identify people who may have been in close contact with the individual.
Effective immediately, Kaweah Delta has also activated an incident command center in the Medical Center that will be staffed 24/7 to ensure that the organization can immediately respond to any situations that may arise. Senior administrative and clinical leaders will be staffing this command center. They are in frequent contact with Tulare County Health & Human Services, local hospitals, and other local healthcare providers to coordinate our responses to evolving community needs.
Kaweah Delta has taken a number of measures to put the health and safety of patients and visitors first. They include limiting patients to one visitor (children cannot visit) across the healthcare district, except for at its skilled nursing program, where no visitors are allowed except for end-of-life patients.
Additionally, Kaweah Delta implemented temporary entrance changes that will limit the number of people going into areas where patients may be present. It has also cancelled all public events, removed volunteers from its sites, cancelled business travel, and asked its more than 5,000 employees to cancel internal meetings planned for 14 or more individuals and use teleconferencing or online meetings instead.
It has been determined that the first individual who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus traveled to Southern California shortly prior to experiencing symptoms. Sierra View Hospital and HHSA have identified and notified the individuals who may have come into contact with the patient. Those individuals are now under self-quarantine.
COVID-19 can be controlled by appropriate public health action such as surveillance, identification and isolation of cases, infection control, intense contact tracing, and isolation of persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Although it may seem like an inconvenience, it is temporary and essential for containment.
If community members have traveled to other areas with community transmission or areas of risk or have a fever with lower respiratory symptoms and trouble breathing, we ask that you call your primary care physician for further assistance, 2-1-1 for questions about COVID-19 or to be placed into contact with our communicable disease staff, and call before you visit a local hospital.
The COVID-19 infection can be transmitted from person to person via airborne droplets such as coughing or sneezing. It is highly contagious and characterized by either mild cold-like symptoms, or it can be a more severe lung infection with a fever.
For new updates and releases of any new positive COVID-19 cases, please visit www.tchhsa.org for daily updates and guidance .