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AHTV updates Rotary on COVID response

Rotary Club of Tehachapi

Josh Pierce, Manager of Training and Development at Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley was the featured speaker at the January 28 telephonic meeting of the Tehachapi Rotary Club. In his current role with AHTV, Pierce manages community outreach, business development, rehabilitation services, volunteer services, and facilitates the COVID-19 testing and vaccine programs for the hospital. Pierce joined the hospital staff about 18 months ago and has been referred to by co-workers as the "Swiss army knife of AHTV."

Pierce outlined AHTV's COVID-19 response for Rotarians, telling them that AHTV has been well able to handle the COVID surge. "We are a rural hospital with 25 beds and have been able to reconfigure it to take up to 50," said Pierce, adding that they have served patients from as far away as Barstow and Southern California. He added that by the end of January over 7,900 people have been tested for COVID at AHTV.

The hospital is currently administering vaccines to healthcare workers and those 65 and over. The shots are given and paperwork completed right in your car. Pierce assured everyone that when the first dose is given, a second dose is being reserved. As they don't always know what their shipment will be, "if you start with Moderna, the second dose is Moderna," said Pierce. He added that AHTV was also the first hospital in Kern County to host a vaccine clinic. Vaccines are administered by appointment. One call is all that is necessary. There is no need to keep calling as they have to follow up on every call. The hospital had requested 2,000 doses but are currently receiving about 250 shots per week.

"If it is -15 degrees out or if the winds are 50 mph, they [staff] will be there to do their job," said Pierce.

On a more positive note, Piece said that AHTV will again be performing elective surgeries on February 1. They also have a large supply of KN95 masks that is allowing them to donate them to other healthcare workers.

Pierce has a background in EMS beginning in 2008. He transitioned into hospital administration in 2015. Wherever he is, he has always found a way to serve his community through the development of outreach programs. In his free time, he is an adjunct professor at Cerro Coso Community College and an avid pickleball player.

The Rotary Club of Tehachapi is a volunteer service organization with the motto "Service Above Self." The club has 30 members and are currently meeting virtually on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. If you would like more information about Rotary Club, you can visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofTehachapi/ or contact club President Chris Naftel (661) 221-2137.