State makes grim projections for the San Joaquin Valley if current behaviors continue

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – The state is projecting that 83% of hospital beds and 120% of ICU beds in the San Joaquin Valley will be occupied on Christmas Eve if current behaviors don’t change, Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined as part of many projections throughout the state during his presser on Monday.

“That’s the lay of the land in terms of the red flags that are flying, not yellow flags, the red flags that are flying in terms of the trajectory in our projections of growth,” Newsom said.

Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Director Dan Lynch said he’s thinks Fresno County will surpass the peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations that the county saw in the surge in July.

Lynch said ICUs are especially full, adding that the two biggest hospitals in town do not have ICU beds available and are holding ICU patients in their emergency departments.

“When the governor talks about running out of ICU beds, we’re already there in a couple of our facilities,” he said.

A major concern, he said, continues to be the lack of medical personnel needed to staff the beds.

“The hospitals are surging with their bed capacities. We just need to get staffing for them, and that’s the biggest challenge right now,” Lynch said.

He said they’re still in conversations with the state to see if they can get additional staffing to the Central Valley, but he added that there are other areas of the state also facing staffing challenges.

As of Sunday, 287 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Fresno County, in addition to 25 suspected of having it. On Nov. 1, 102 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the county.

Mariposa County, which had never been in the red tier, moved into the red tier on Saturday. Dr. Eric Sergienko, the county’s health officer, said what’s more concerning than the increase in cases is the number of people having to be hospitalized. He said a number of their cases have had to be transferred to hospitals in nearby counties, like Fresno.

“What we tell our residents is play it safe. Don’t travel. Don’t engage in behaviors that increase your risk, because if you do end up needing to be hospitalized as we head into the Christmas season, it’s less likely that there will be an available hospital bed for you,” Sergienko said.

Gov. Newsom said if current trends continue, the state will have to take drastic action, like implement a stay-at-home order in counties in the purple tier. As of Monday, that includes all counties in the Central Valley, except for Mariposa.

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said he’s concerned about the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the county’s hospital capacity, but he does not support a stay-at-home order.

“I am not supportive of these lockdown measures, I do believe in voluntary compliance,” Magsig said.

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