FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE): Fresno County Public Health officials are seeing yet another surge of COVID-19 cases. Officials say over the past week, 20% of COVID tests have come back positive which represents one of the highest rates in California.

Add to that, hospitalizations have almost doubled over the past month with nearly 200 patients now hospitalized due to complications from the virus. 193 patients throughout Fresno County are in the hospital with COVID-19 – a month ago that number was 106: a nearly 90% increase.

“Our positivity rate has gone up, we’re actually above that ourselves locally, so more than one in five people coming through here have COVID,” said Dr. Kenny Banh with UCSF.

At a drive-thru testing and vaccine clinic on Shaw Ave. in Central Fresno, Dr. Banh says he can notice the increase not only there but also in the hospital.

“Now it’s just ‘my gosh, we are just busting at the seams.’ Yes, COVID hospitalizations are high, they’re not where they were in January or February, but they’re high, but they’re layered on the fact that we have everything else right now, most of our hospitals are just dying for hospital beds right now,” he said.

“I get asked a lot why this is happening a lot, why are hospitalizations seeming to go up, and it all goes to the new variants,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eugene Egerton with St. Agnes Medical Center.

He said he is seeing the same thing in his hospital in terms of more COVID-19 patients.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations. We had gotten down to single digits of COVID patients, we’re back up to over 60 patients in the hospital,” said Dr. Egerton.

While the new variants aren’t as deadly, both Dr. Banh and Dr. Egerton agree that when cases go up, more precautions should be taken.

“We have to balance what strategies work versus what physically works,” said Dr. Banh.

“There’s going to be a certain amount of personal accountability that we all have to assume as we learn to live with this because we’re going to have to do that anyway. COVID is never going to go away completely,” said Dr. Egerton.

In counties like Los Angeles, when the rate of cases rises, indoor mask mandates could be reinstated by the county public health department. Fresno County has no such mandate.