Majority of Tulare County COVID-19 cases in Visalia area

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County Public Health lab, a regional reference lab, has tested more than 1,100 samples for COVID-19.

The majority of samples being tested are from Tulare County, and the lab has a 24-48 hour turnaround for results.

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That may be one reason why the county has a high number of confirmed cases: 135 as of Monday.

"So we probably have some results faster than some of the other counties," said Tulare County Public Health Director Karen Elliott. "Because if they're sending it out to other labs, it could be four to five days at the quickest that they get the results."

Last week, Tulare County officials created a map that shows the location of confirmed cases.

A total of 74 people in the greater Visalia area have tested positive for COVID-19, including more than 40 staff and residents at a skilled nursing facility, Redwood Springs Healthcare Center.

Tulare has 25 cases.

In the county, 86 of 135 confirmed cases are a result of person to person contact.

"We don't like that our numbers are high," Elliott said. "What we do like is the fact that I think are numbers are where they're at because of our public health work. We're doing contact tracing. So we're working and quarantining those people who are the contacts to someone who is positive."

Over the weekend, county health officials announced there were cases of community spread, meaning the source of infection is unknown.

It's just another reason why they continue to ask the public to keep their distance from one another and only go out for essential services.

"The biggest thing that we can do is follow the orders that are in place," Elliott said. "Stay home, stay safe, and continue to social distance."

Below is a statement from Anita Hubbard, Administrator of the Redwood Springs Healthcare Center.

"We have been vigilant and early for weeks in adopting the practices and protocols that have been directed by Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, state and county guidance to protect the frail and vulnerable residents entrusted to our care. This incident underscores the service and sacrifices made by our dedicated team every day. We're grateful for their continued efforts. Our top priority remains the health and well-being of everyone in our facility."

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