Tulare County’s public health: Who’s responsible for getting it right

On Wednesday, April 29, the Director of Public Health for Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, sat down with 3RNews for the first of an on-going conversation on the COVID-19 pandemic. Meet Karen Elliott (no relation) who spends every day now battling the coronavirus and protecting the health of Tulare County. 

In this first installment, Elliott reveals her Visalia roots and a career in business that began in Chico at Cal State has an undergraduate. With more than 20 years in the field of healthcare, Elliott knows that managing a crisis means saving lives first but also holding the reins of costs that in healthcare can be off the charts. The buck stops here

In 2018, after coming up through the department ranks, and receiving her M.A. in business from Fresno State, she became the agency’s director. In this Part 1 segment Elliott tells how in January 2020, working with World Ag Expo, she was already planning for travelers from many countries including China — ground zero for COVID-19. By mid-March, Tulare County had it ‘s first positive cases and the battle lines were drawn — testing, tracing, hospitalization, and quarantine.

In Part 2, Elliott admits that she’s not a medical expert but knows that first will come medicine for the symptoms and then in 2021, hopefully a tried and true vaccine. In the meantime, she and her colleagues are following a road map that they don’t always know where it is going. The buck stops here

As to when this crisis will be over and the stay-at-home order will be lifted, Elliott says Tulare County will for now continue to follow orders from the state.  

“Our health orders are pretty consistent with the state and county orders and we will continue to follow whichever of these directives are the most strict.” The buck stops here

Next time: Elliott discusses testing protocol and what it will reveal for getting the upper hand in this unprecedented crisis. 

The buck stops here

5 thoughts on “Tulare County’s public health: Who’s responsible for getting it right

  • May 1, 2020 at 9:49 am

    No one is following any kind of “stay at home order” or “social distancing” here.. I moved here 2 weeks ago and in one day I saw more in town traffic than I’ve seen in a whole week in Santa Barbara County.. It was a ghost town in Santa Barbara County for a month but here,,, business as usual..

    • May 2, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Well since you just moved here I guess you can’t tell how many people you saw came up from the valley.

  • May 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Me and my husband, and all my close friends are Sheltered in Place. I meet friends and family on Facetime or Zoom. It is true most are not wearing masks when I drove through town after 10 am today, back around noon. When I show up at the Market 8:00 am for the elders shopping hours (Thanks Village Market for doing this), only one person is not masked in the group who are shopping at that time. All the staff of the Market are masked. Again, thank you.
    My husband does have underlined health issues so I truly appreciate my community when you are masked and keep 6 feet away from me. We are normally huggers so this isn’t easy to walk by people I truly would hug, and must stop myself.
    This will pass. I’d like to look back on it as time when we all did it right the first time, and not regret that we didn’t have the patience to save lives, even with all the doubts that this is necessary. Better safe than sorry.

  • May 1, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Have there been any testing in the town of Three Rivers?

    • May 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      Erin: There have been several individuals tested who live in Three Rivers so far with all negative results. But the protocol up until now has been no tests ordered unless
      your doctor or provider okays it and you are showing symptoms. Starting Monday, May 4, anyone who wants a test, with symptoms or not, can be tested at the new state-sponsored sites at the Porterville
      and Dinuba memorial buildings. But you must call ahead for an appointment.

      3R News will publish those phone numbers as soon as they go live. And the best news of all is that if you have insurance the cost will be covered; if you don’t have insurance the state will pickup the


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