Fresno health officials warn gatherings could lead to overwhelmed hospitals

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) — Fresno health officials are warning citizens not to gather during the holidays to prevent local healthcare facilities from being overwhelmed.

In the last three weeks, the number of hospitalized positive COVID patients at CRMC has tripled and the number of employees with the virus has doubled.

Three weeks ago CRMC had 59 COVID positive patients admitted into the hospital, 99 staff were in self-isolation, and 45 staff were COVID positive.

Today, CRMC is caring for 167 positive COVID patients, 249 staff are in self-isolation, and 90 staff are COVID positive.

This is the trend for many hospitals across the Valley.

“I don’t want to be Danny downer,” said Fresno Emergency Medical Services Director Dan Lynch. “But I am telling you that we are in a different circumstance here.”

Lynch and nearly every top hospital officer from across the county asked citizens to stay home for the holiday and said if people must gather to make sure it is no more than three households.

“This is really serious,” said Fresno Health Department Assistant Director David Luchini. “It is really up to all of us to do our part to slow this down. We cannot continue this spike and hope that our healthcare system can be prepared.”

Other medical providers including St. Agnes and the VA hospital are also seeing an increase in patients and staff testing positive for COVID-19. Emergency Medical Services Director Dan Lynch said unlike the spike in July, traveling nurses are hard to find and military services are mostly helping in Southern California.

“We don’t have that luxury this time and so we are going to have to share and get through this thing,” said Lynch.

Lynch has a meeting set up with the state officials to try and get more resources to the Valley in case of a spike.

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