FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Valley hospitals are sending an S.O.S. message as the post-holiday Coronavirus surge is hitting the Central Valley again at an alarming rate.
“We’re really at the beginning of the Omicron wave hospitalization, and we’ve already gone past the number of hospitalizations that we had at the peak of Delta,” said David Bacci, regional vice-president for the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.
“About 70% of the hospitalized patients were never vaccinated, and then of the 30% who were vaccinated, about 75% of those were not boostered,” he said. “We’re actually seeing 4-5 times more people infected every single day with Omicron than they were with Delta.”
In Fresno County, only about half of the population is fully vaccinated. Less than 20% have received a booster shot.
Health officials say this is why the region tends to have longer and tougher Covid surges than the rest of the state.
“Across the state of California we have 58 counties and Fresno has the 8th most Covid hospitalized in it.”
Out of the 417 hospitalized Covid patients in Fresno County, 65 are in ICU.
“There are 11 ICU beds available in the entire county,” said Bacci.
Hospital staff is suffering too. Bacci said some medical centers have up to 10% of their workforce out sick with the virus or exposed.
“We don’t quite have the same ability to pull someone maybe from a weekend shift or somewhere else because it’s all hands-on deck right now.”
Valley hospitals have turned to outside help.
“We actually have well over 1,000 nurses in the valley right now who are traveling. They have all come from out of the area, some have come from out of the state,” said Bacci, adding that the state has also sent in monoclonal antibody teams to treat positive patients.
Health officials continue urging people to mask up and get vaccinated.
“The hospitals, we’re getting a little tired too,” said Bacci.