On Wednesday morning the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency released updated statistics for COVID-19 cases in the county. Tulare County now has 1,796 confirmed cases.

The department reported 149 cases within the city limits of Porterville. The department's official tally for Lindsay is 117.

There were 34 cases reported in Southwestern Tulare County, three cases in foothill/mountain communities, 11 cases in Strathmore, 234 cases in Tulare, 362 cases in Dinuba, 69 cases in Farmersville, 11 cases in Goshen, 20 cases in Ivanhoe, 11 cases in Traver, 14 cases in Woodlake, 11 cases in the Reedley area and 11 cases in Orange Cove.

The entire Visalia region has 611 cases, according to the statistics released by the department on Wednesday.

Thirty-one cases were reported as travelers, 891 were due to person-to-person contact and 874 were under investigation.

There were 143 cases ages 0-17, 232 were ages 18-25, 41 were ages 26-40, 617 were ages 41-64 and 393 were ages 65 and older.

The department reported 732 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Tulare County have recovered. There are 1,022 people in Tulare County under self-quarantine who are being monitored by public health officials. The department reported that 79 deaths have occurred in the county due to COVID-19.

California Public Health Releases Guidance to Reopen Place of Worship and Retail Stores

The California Department of Public Health has announced the statewide reopening of places of worship for religious services and in-store retail shopping, including those establishments located within Tulare County. The newly released guidance includes required modifications to keep patrons safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We encourage our local churches and retail stores to review these guidance documents and implement the recommended protocols and procedures in order to ensure the public’s health and safety,” stated Karen Elliott, Tulare County Director of Public Health.

Under the newly issued guidance, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of building capacity – or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower. The vast majority of large gatherings and events remain prohibited under the state's stay-at-home order until it is fully lifted in Stage Four of the Statewide Reopening Roadmap.

Under the guidance, health officials encourage religious organizations to continue online services and activities to protect individuals who are most at risk for COVID-19, including older adults and people with compromised immune systems or specific medical conditions. The full guidance document for religious services and cultural ceremonies can be viewed on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page at:https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/

In addition, all retail stores previously closed are now eligible to reopen statewide for in-store shopping. The guidance for retailers can be viewed online, providing guidelines that help reduce the risk for workers and customers while in-store shopping occurs.

More information about the state's COVID-19 guidance is available on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page. For more information about reopening California and what individuals can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.

To ensure the safety of our community while reopening, Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency recommends the use of the comprehensive resources for employers and businesses looking to reopen:

  • Tulare County COVID-19 Guide: Playbook for Reopening Your Business in the Age of COVID-19

  • Cal/OSHA General Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19

  • CDC Guidance for Communities of Faith

  • CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.tchhsa.org/ncov and www.covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov

SVMC remains open for non-COVID related emergencies

Sierra View Medical Center’s (SVMC) Emergency Department (ED), located in Porterville, remains open to serve emergency needs for non-COVID related issues, especially for conditions where early diagnosis and treatment can be lifesaving, such as a stroke or heart attack.

SVMC is well prepared to handle all non-COVID emergencies, as well as COVID-19 cases in a safe environment that limits exposure from other patients and safeguards staff. Dr. Woolery, the ED Site Medical Director shares, “Our Emergency Department remains open, safe and our team of providers are here and available to care for you and your needs 24/7.”

The growing concern is that residents in the community may ignore early warnings signs and postpone a trip to the ED in fear of being exposed to the coronavirus. While SVMC is treating COVID-19 patients, ensuring safe access for everyone to emergency medical and nursing care continues to be a top priority.

“There has been an entire re-structure and strict protocols that comply with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines that have been put into place to control potential spread of the coronavirus,” said Kevin Dooms, SVMC Emergency Department RN Interim Clinical Manager. “Examples of these safety measures include a screening process that is done in a tented area before anyone enters the ED. Additionally, the SVMC engineering team created anterooms so that there is never direct access between a COVID-19 patient area and the remainder of the ED. Additionally, the waiting areas have been reconfigured to maintain the CDC recommended social distancing requirement of 6ft distance.”

In alignment with SVMC, NES Health, a physician and management staffing group made up of individual licensed providers, remain proactive and diligently focused on deploying best practices, protocols and real time updates from the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). These best practices deployed by both SVMC and NES Health keep the SVMC ED in accordance with all state, local and federal guidelines.

NES Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steven Wexler comments on his concern in seeing decreased ED visits. “What we are seeing across the country is a 50% decrease in ER visits. We are concerned that people are waiting at home too long for their emergencies, especially when if we are talking about chest pain and stroke.” He adds, “The partnership of SVMC with NES Health took steps very early on in the crisis to ensure the ED was set up to keep staff and patients safe. A step that NES Health has taken at its facilities across the nation.”

Sierra View wants the community of Porterville to know that they are here, open, and can take care of any emergency no matter how small or big in a safe environment.

Signs or symptoms of medical emergencies should not be ignored. Those experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke, such as chest pain or sudden muscle weakness, should call 911 or visit the emergency department immediately. SVMC wants to ensure the community and residents of surrounding areas to not let the fear of COVID-19 stall immediate medical attention.

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