FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming a local emergency for hospitals in Fresno County.

According to a statement from Fresno County, the closure of Madera Community Hospital, the impact of hospital overcrowding, a COVID surge, flu, and RSV, and the current “assess and refer” policy in Fresno County are the reasons for the local emergency. The board also adopted the resolution to highlight the need for assistance from the state and federal governments.

The resolution also states the normal operating bed capacity for patients in local hospitals has exceeded the maximum available bed capacities, causing critical and ill patients to be housed and cared for in the emergency department and other areas of the hospital. This has led to modifying conference rooms, offices, and non-traditional spaces throughout the hospital.

It also states that through a combination of employee illnesses and the need for additional staffing of surge space at local hospitals, staffing has to be supplemented with high-cost out-of-area travel nurses that cause financial challenges to the hospitals. Despite the need for additional staffing, many hospitals have chosen to not hire more travel nurses as they can’t absorb the cost.

For these reasons and others listed in the resolutions, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors is requesting that the Governor of California declares the County of Fresno to be in a state of emergency to be able to immediately alleviate the impacts of hospital bed capacity and to make available any and all state assistance programs to provide relief to the hospitals in Fresno County.