Valley hospitals in crisis mode as patients wait for beds

Coronavirus

CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – With the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the state, on Wednesday Kaweah Health called for a Code Triage, which means longer wait times and diverting of patients to other hospitals.

Out of nearly 500 California hospitals, two Central Valley hospitals have the largest number of COVID-19 patients.

“Kaweah Health has the not so dubious honor of having the most number of COVID inpatients of any hospital in California,” said Kaweah Health’s Executive Officer Gary Herbst. “Community Regional Medical Center to the north in Fresno has the second.”

Kaweah Health activated the triage with over 50 patients waiting for a hospital bed on Wednesday. This is the second time the hospital has been in crisis mode in three months.

“We are the hotbed of the state right now,” said Fresno Emergency Medical Director Dan Lynch. “So, while the rest of the state is kinda trending down and kind of stabilizing, our valley is going up.”

Lynch said other valley hospitals including CRMC, St. Agnes and Clovis Community are in the same boat at Kaweah Health.

“They are in that mode right now,” said Lynch. “They are in an internal disaster.”

Kaiser Permanente Assistant Chief of Hospital Medicine, Robert Ferdman, said younger patients are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.

One of his patients is 29-years-old and unvaccinated. She ended up in the hospital with her 50-year-old mother after they both contracted COVID-19.

The mother made it through ok, but the 29-year-old was put on a ventilator, is still in the hospital after several months and now has a tube in her stomach and throat.

“It just hurts to know that this could have been prevented,” said Ferdman. “It was hard to predict that. Why was she, her older mother wasn’t, but why was she devastated and what future does this hold for her as well?”

Lynch said ambulances have also seen around a 30% increase, which forced an assessment and referral for Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties. This means ambulances will not transport a patient to the hospital if they determine it is not an emergency.

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