Citing decline in COVID hospitalizations, Kaweah Delta stands down crisis care readiness

A Press Release from Kaweah Delta Hospital District – Laura Florez-McCusker Director of Media Relations

Citing a significant decline in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in recent weeks, Kaweah Delta’s Chief Executive Officer announced today that the Visalia hospital is standing down its readiness to triage, limit or ration care. On Jan. 6, the State required that all California hospitals develop and publish a plan for triaging care if their community reached emergency status due to COVID-19.

“Our conditions have improved significantly from where we were two to three weeks ago when we were literally on the brink of crisis care,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Delta’s CEO. “When we stood up the triage command center, we were rehearsing what it would be like with our physicians and our staff. We’re very pleased to say that the command center has been deactivated at this point, but remains intact should the need arise.”

Today, Kaweah Delta is caring for 114 COVID-patients, with 13 of those patients in the ICU. That number is down significantly from the 169 COVID-19 patients Kaweah Delta was caring for on Jan. 5. Often in the past three weeks, Kaweah Delta’s 41 licensed ICU beds were full, which caused the hospital to provide ICU level care in its intermediate critical care unit.

“We’re asking people to have a much different Super Bowl celebration this year than they might normally have,” he said. “That certainly would be typically a super spreader event that could change our condition pretty rapidly, but right now it looks pretty good.”

A number of factors have contributed to the decline in COVID hospitalizations, Herbst said. While sadly, some COVID-19 patients have died, which has impacted numbers, COVID-related admissions have also decreased, Herbst said. Additionally, Medical Staff at the hospital are having greater success in caring for COVID patients sooner, both in the hospital and prior to hospitalization on an outpatient basis using antiviral medications, aspirin, antibiotics, oxygen therapy and more, Herbst said. And, as more and more individuals in the community get vaccinated, Herbst said he believes it will also help COVID numbers decline.

“We hope that this is the beginning of the end of this coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “While I respect everybody’s own individual decision on vaccination, I truly believe this vaccine, coupled with continued practices of handwashing and social distancing, is what is going to help us emerge from this pandemic.”

Kaweah Delta shares COVID-19 information and regular updates, including parking and construction news, with the community on its website at www.kaweahdelta.org/COVID19 and on its social media accounts. #

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