Written by The Business Journal Staff
Kaweah Delta’s CEO announced Friday the hospital is seeing a significant decline in Covid-19 hospitalizations, but the public shouldn’t become too relaxed.
Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia is standing down its crisis care readiness, which had previously been to triage, limit or ration care. This crisis readiness plan came from a state requirement on Jan. 6 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.”
As of Friday, the hospital is caring for 114 Covid patients, 13 in the ICU. That number has significantly declined from 169 on Jan. 5. Kaweah Delta houses 41 ICU beds, and in the past few weeks, they were at capacity, causing the hospital to provide ICU level care in its intermediate critical care unit.
While hospitalizations are declining, frontline health care workers are asking the public to keep from traditional gatherings for the Super Bowl.
“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.”
The decline is due to decreased admissions and deaths in the hospital. Additionally, Herbst says hospital staff has been more successful at caring for Covid patients sooner, both in the hospital and by preventing hospital stays with antiviral medications, aspirin, antibiotics and oxygen therapy.
“We hope that this is the beginning of the end of this coronavirus pandemic,” Herbst 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.”