CA has lowest case rate in country, but Central Valley continues to care for high volumes of COVID-19 patients


CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – Per the CDC, California is the only state in the country to have a substantial level of community transmission. The other states remain at a high level of community transmission.

This makes California the state with the lowest case rate in the country.

But in the Central Valley, hospitals are still caring for a high volume of COVID-19 patients.

“The hospitals are still so impacted,” Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Director Dan Lynch said. “So we’re seeing today that the ICU beds in our hospitals are still in that 120% capacity range.”

Lynch says the healthcare system in the Valley also doesn’t have the resources that other parts of the state have.

“We’ve always struggled with capacity issues this time of the year without COVID,” Lynch said. “Whatever small amount of capacity that we would have is now just overwhelmed by the fact that we have COVID patients.

“We’re not just dealing with COVID. We’re dealing with all the other things, those terrible car accidents that we keep hearing about, or those shootings or those trauma events or the person having a heart attack,” Lynch added.

And the Central Valley continues to fall behind other parts of the state with its vaccination rates. In Fresno County, per the health department’s latest data, 65% of residents 12 and older are vaccinated with at least one dose. In other parts of the Valley, it’s even lower.

Per the California Department of Public Health, during the week of Aug. 29 to Sept.4, the average case rate in California among those 16 and older who were unvaccinated was eight times higher than among those who were vaccinated.

The case rate in Fresno County is more than three times higher than in San Francisco County.

Community leaders and organizations continue to try to reach more people with the vaccine through mobile events like at high schools.

“We’re gonna answer any questions. We want to remove any doubts that people have,” said Genoveva Islas, the executive director with Cultiva La Salud, who was at McLane High School on Monday. They were offering testing and vaccines.

At the Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday morning, there was an item for a financial incentive for county employees to get vaccinated. But supervisors delayed the item.

“I’m gonna take the [American Rescue Plan Act] money and give it to people to incentivize them to get a shot instead of build a park, and I just have an issue with that,” Supervisor Brian Pacheco said.

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