COVID-19 Still Impacts South Valley
Last updated 7/24/2020 at 4:36pm | View PDF
As of June 22, Tulare County has 3,172 reported cases of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The virus has killed 111 people in the county.
Kings County has had 1,331 cases, with 12 deaths.
Despite the current increase in cases, there is apparently some confusion about how safe it is to resume a normal life.
"We are now in early Stage 2, where retail, related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces, limited personal services, outdoor museums, child care and essential businesses can open with modifications," according to the state of California website.
At about the same time, however, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidelines that require all Californians to wear a face covering while in public and in high-risk settings.
Although many local businesses have opened their doors, COVID-19 continues to impact our area.
Redwood Springs and Linwood Meadows
The two local senior care facilities hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, Redwood Springs and Linwood Meadows, have reported more than 270 cases and 39 deaths between them.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
A list of 22 COVID-19 test collection sites in and near Tulare County is at https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-testing-collection-sites.
A calendar of testing dates, times and locations in Kings County is at http://www.countyofkings.com/departments/health-welfare/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
Visalia Senior Games
"Although we hope that the 2020 Visalia Senior Games can be rescheduled for the fall, at this time nothing can be confirmed," said Jeremy Rogers, community services director. "The City of Visalia Parks and Recreation continues to monitor all California state and Tulare County recommendations regarding safety and the spread of COVID-19 in our community,"
Visalia Senior Center
The center is continuing its drive-thru lunch program to provide seniors with a low-cost meal option.
"For those who have thought about stopping by the center for lunch but missed the opportunity to do so, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the easy, safe lunch option and enjoy some tasty meals," said Laurissa Roggenkamp, recreation manager for Visalia Parks and Recreation.
Lunches, by Sue Sa's Creative Catering, are available for pick-up/to-go only from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday-Friday at the Visalia Senior Center, 310 N. Locust, until further notice. Lunches are $6; $4.50 for Visalia senior residents.
Seniors must call (559) 713-4481 to reserve their lunch by noon the weekday before. Menus are available online at http://www.liveandplayvisalia.com and also on the Visalia Senior Center Facebook page.
In addition to the drive-thru lunch option, staff have been reaching out to and continue to make wellness check calls to seniors who regularly visited the senior center.
Hanford Parks & Recreation
Hanford Parks & Recreation has already scheduled events – starting this month.
On July 6, aerobics classes will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at The Longfield Center, 560 S. Douty St. in Hanford. The cost is $11 monthly for seniors.
Also on July 6, walking/circuit classes will be held every Monday and Wednesday from 9:45-11 a.m. The class is free, but space is limited.
From July 9 to September 29, water aerobics classes will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-10 a.m. at The Hanford Plunge, 415 Ford St. The cost is $11 for seniors.
Also from July 9 to September 29, lap swim classes will be held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at The Hanford Plunge. The cost is $11 for seniors.
For more information call (559) 585-2525.
Tulare Senior Center
The center is closed – at least until July 15 – but its Grab & Go Program is still serving meals, as of this writing.
"Seniors drive up and we give them a meal, check them off on our lunch reservation list, take donation ($3) and they exit," explained Lorraine Zorn, senior services administrator. "We serve meals Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to noon."
The center delivers lunch to the homes of seniors who used bus or dial-a-ride transportation, and frozen meals to its regular Meals on Wheels clients.
For program updates, call (559) 685-2330.
Emergency Bail Schedule
The California Judicial Council no longer has the emergency rules it put into effect on April 6, which eliminated bail for all misdemeanor and felony offenses. Exemptions to the new schedule included violent crimes such as murder and rape, but eliminated bail for a variety of crimes including elder abuse.
This reversal was good news to local law enforcement officials, including Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, who had concerns about the policy.
"Why would you have elder abuse on the list of offenses with zero bail?" said Sheriff Boudreaux, whose grandmother was the victim of elder abuse committed by a caretaker. "I didn't mind other offenses being on the list, like driving on a suspended license."
Quail Park at Shannon Ranch
"We are open, moving new residents in and providing personal tours," said Kathleen Remillard, director of business development for the new senior community in Visalia. "We have apartments available in our memory care building, and independent and assisted living."
Porterville Convalescent Hospital
"Basically, we're doing what everyone is doing," said Bobbie Lujan, LVN, director of business development. "No visitors are allowed. We take temperatures of all residents at least daily, and of all staff two times a day. All staff are wearing masks.
"The front door is locked and a staff member sits by the front door," she added. "The mailman and UPS leave all mail and packages on a table outside."
Kaweah Delta Airflow Project
On June 19, the Kaweah Delta Health Care District announced the completion of an airflow project that will allow it to isolate up to 86 COVID-19 positive patients in the future.
"Unfortunately, as the county continues to open up and after every holiday, we expected to see a higher outbreak rate and that's happening," said Gary Herbst, CEO of Kaweah Delta, noting that three days earlier, it cared for 41 COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
The project included turning rooms used as COVID-19 units into airborne infection isolation rooms, which comply with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of an isolation room, and function as negative air pressure rooms.
Several of these rooms opened on the newly opened fifth and sixth floors of Kaweah Delta's Acequia Building.
The Lifestyle Center
The Lifestyle Center, a division of Kaweah Delta, opened on June 12, after securing approval from the state and county. The medically based fitness and rehabilitation facility re-opened with cardio and strength equipment (spaced six feet apart throughout the facility and in the gymnasium area), along with the track, lap pool, warm water pool and restrooms.
More information about TLC's phased re-opening plan, which follows guidelines from the state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Medical Fitness Association, is at http://www.thelifestylecenter.org.
"Our hope is that it won't be long until we can safely support a full re-opening of our facility," said Patrick Tazio, director. "We know this has not been an easy time for any of us, but we hope this is a sign of good things to come."
Visalia Fox Theatre
No events are expected at the Visalia Fox Theatre this summer, according to Marina Rojas, marketing and development manager.
Although the Fox website, http://www.foxvisalia.org, has information about two summer events, "Those events are looking like they will be rescheduled to either further in the year or in 2021," Rojas said.
Hanford Fox Theatre
Dan Humason, owner of the Hanford Fox, doesn't expect any big events in his theater this year. He explained that talent agencies, such as the William Morris Agency, apparently won't be offering shows until January or February.
Humason said he's "not in a real big hurry to open." He runsthe historic theater because he enjoys what he does and not to make as much money as possible.
"It's fun," he explained. "What else would we do?
"Even if we lose money, it's good for everyone else," he said, referring to the community and surrounding businesses.
The Fox may host smaller events in the fall, such as movie screenings for local schools.
Regal Cinemas announced plans to open all of its U.S. theaters on July 10. The theaters will follow the required health and safety guidelines.
The nationwide chain includes the Visalia Stadium 10 and Sequoia Mall 12 in Visalia.
The Visalia Rawhide is still waiting on a decision from Major League Baseball to announce if it will have a 2020 baseball season.
"As a Minor League Baseball team, we have to wait since we develop players for them." said Jill Gearin, broadcasting and media relations.
"We still don't have an update on the season, but we are slowly opening up for events," she said. "We are able to host private parties in our Hall of Fame Club at a reduced capacity.
"We are also beginning to take reservations for on-field batting practice. We are hoping people are able to use that for birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, company outings, youth/adult team parties, etc.
"I've also posted on our social media that we can host weddings that have been postponed due to COVID-19," she added. "Those are the main events/parties we have started to brainstorm for, but if people have other ideas, we want to work with them to be able to rent the ballpark. If people are interested or have questions, we ask that they call the office at (559) 732-4433."
The local Alzheimer's Association chapter continues to offer educational programs and support for caregivers online.
For a complete schedule, visit http://www.alz.org/socal and scroll down to Events. The Educational Programs link leads to online events and activities.
Central California Blood Center
Unlike the typical situation during most public emergencies, COVID-19 has helped the local blood supply, at least at the Central California Blood Center.
"We've actually been really good on our blood supply," said Debra Newman, phlebotomist at the center's Visalia location. "We've been getting a lot of donors. With people sheltering in place, there's not much else going on."
"In early April, we saw a huge number of people come out to donate," said Brandon Fries, community development manager. "Now we're seeing a decline."
Those interested in donating blood will be asked about their health (mainly if there are any heart or lung issues) and about any recent travel.
"We are reaching out to people who have had COVID-19, working with the Fresno Public Health Department and local doctors," said Fries.
For more information, call (559) 302-1300.
United Way of Tulare County
To donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support Tulare County families, text COVIDTC to 41444.
The Valley Voice hasn't been seen on local newsstands for several weeks.
"We stopped printing because of the lockdown and stay-at-home," explained Joseph Oldenbourg, publisher. "Most of the collection points were public places that had been closed. Just hitting stand-alone newsstands did not justify printing, so we decided that when we opened up more, we would return to print.
"But we've never gone away," he added. "We've maintained our online activities, posting regularly (at http://www.ourvalleyvoice.com). Every first and third Thursday, I post a roster of what we would have considered our latest issue. But we're posting almost daily. I update the situation and bullet point the new stuff."
Visalia Public Cemetery
"The Healing Heart Walks will continue," said Cindy Summers, Visalia Public Cemetery District manager. "We make sure we use social distancing, the same thing we do for services."
No Fourth of July events are planned at the cemetery this year.
Visalia Gleaning Seniors
On June 24-27, the Visalia Gleaning Seniors held a "huge" yard sale in the Gleaner Yard, 28600 Road 156 in Visalia.
The Visalia Gleaning Seniors were cleared by the county of Tulare to conduct the yard sale (unfortunately, after the deadline for our last issue).
"Our next yard sale will be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 10, 11 and 12 at the Gleaner Yard," reports Donna Hall, office manager for the organization.
For more information or to donate items for the sale, call (559) 733-5352.
Public Health Guidance for Reopening
"As we slowly begin to reopen, people should continue to follow the public health guidance in reducing their chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus," Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught told The Good Life.
She said that people can significantly reduce their risk by:
• Continuing to socially distance themselves from others, including practicing physical distancing of six feet or more from other people, especially those not within their same household.
• Wearing a face mask or face cloth covering when outside the home and in public places, and especially in environments when physical distancing of sixfeet or more is not possible.
• Continuing to frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, especially before and after eating.
• Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops and other high traffic areas in your home and place of work.
"The coronavirus is still a threat to our health and we encourage everyone to follow the public health guidance, and stay home as much as possible," said Dr. Haught.
For More Information
For current COVID-19 information in Kings County, visit http://www.kingscovidinfo.com.
For current COVID-19 information in Tulare County, including updated statistics and a map of cases in the county, visit http://www.tchhsa.org.
Kaweah Delta shares COVID-19 updates with the community at http://www.kaweahdelta.org/COVID19.