Fresno official calls surge in hospitals, increase in healthcare workers with COVID “recipe for disaster”

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — A Fresno City official is calling the surge in positive COVID-19 cases paired with an increase in healthcare workers contracting the virus, a possible recipe for disaster.

Councilmember Luis Chavez confirmed Kaiser Permanente and Community Regional Medical Center are at or over 100% capacity.

Overall, the number of positive COVID-19 patients in the hospital is a small portion of the total amount, but with hospital space at a premium for valley residents, the pressure has started to build.

“150-200 patients that are COVID positive,” said Fresno County Board of Supervisor Nathan Magsig. “That large number of patients needing beds and the 40 plus people that need beds are really putting a strain on our hospital system.”

The number of positive cases in Fresno County is near 7,300 with the death toll rising. Magsig said about 40 of the 250 ICU beds in Fresno County are taken by COVID-19 patients.

“So it sounds like that is not a lot but when you always have 5 or 6 extra beds,” said Magsig. “Now, you have this wave of COVID patients that need them. It requires you to scramble a little bit.”

Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez said both CRMC and Kaiser are over 100% capacity. He said more and more healthcare workers are contracting the virus.

“So you put those together,” said Chavez. “Where you are over 100% capacity and a lack of personnel to provide adequate medical treatment. That is a bad recipe for disaster.”

A week and a half ago, Magsig said around 40 healthcare workers had an active case or had recovered from the virus. That number is now over 80.

“The county is now working to bring about 100 traveling nurses to the area so those traveling nurses will help be able to take some of the pressure off the hospitals because they can help staff the beds that are currently available,” said Magsig.

The county does have beds available at the Fresno Convention Center, which has not been used. Magsig said that is the last resort option. Magsig will host a Facetime Live with a hospital executive later this week.

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