Fresno County health officer most concerned about continued rise of COVID hospitalizations

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FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Just this week, Fresno County fell back into the purple tier and the state issued a curfew that affects every Central Valley county except for Mariposa.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are continuing to surge throughout the state, including in Fresno County.

Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said his biggest concern now is the continued rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county.

As of Thursday, 171 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the county in addition to 29 suspected of having it. On Monday, it was 151 patients with COVID-19.

“It would be very irresponsible to say that the hospitals are not in any danger,” Vohra said Friday.

He added if people aren’t mindful of their decisions, he’s afraid hospitals won’t have the capacity to care for all patients.

The state announced the “Limited Stay at Home” order on Thursday. It requires generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier.

That means is impacts most of the state including Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Madera and Merced counties.

The order will take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday and remain in effect until 5 a.m. on Dec. 21.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Thursday that she would not be enforcing the curfew order that is set to start Saturday night.

The curfew order announcement came three days after the state gave businesses in counties moving into the purple tier 24 hours to close indoor operations.

County leaders say they’re relying on voluntary compliance.

However, several businesses have remained operating indoors.

“The message from Fresno county is the virus is real. The mandates from Sacramento are real too, but here in Fresno county, we’re relying on voluntary compliance,” Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said.

Other businesses have decided to shut down indoor operations because they don’t want to get risk getting cited.

“We just don’t want to risk it. We are in the process of trying to secure a different liquor license so we don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize that,” said Jesse Mendoza, the owner of The Local.

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