Many intensive care units in California hospitals are entirely
overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, according to a Wednesday report
Los Angeles Times.
The disturbing news comes on the heels of newly announced
stay-at-home mandates as coronavirus surges across the state.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University
estimate that there have been at least 1,422,341 confirmed
COVID-19 cases in California at the time of this reporting, with at
least 20,275 fatalities attributed to the virus.
What are the details?
Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s interim health official, said
that the county’s intensive care units have hit a 0% capacity rate.
Fresno County boasts a population of approximately 1 million
“All the things that you’re hearing about how impacted our
hospitals are, about how dire this situation is with our ICUs is,
it’s absolutely true,” Vohra added. “That really is the reason that
we want everyone to stay home as much as possible, at least for the
next few weeks until we get this surge under control, as we try to
work through the hospitalization that are just coming in so quickly
and try to provide the best care.”
Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Director Dan Lynch said
that the county is aiming to activate an alternate care site —
which could hold 123 people — for overflow patients beginning on
The Times reported that at least three counties in the San
Joaquin Valley area have also reached maximum capacity in their
ICUs and pointed out that the area — California’s agricultural
hub — is the first in the state to be maxed out.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly
addressed further staffing shortages at San Joaquin Valley
hospitals on Tuesday and said that the situation is quickly
“We’re fulfilling what we can,” he said. “But it is getting
harder. We know that staff is our main scarce resource. Our
requests, both across the state and the nation, are hard to fulfill
because of what’s happening across America with COVID.”
Dr. Ahmad Kamal of Santa Clara County — where health officials
estimate there is less than 10% of the county’s ICU capacity
available — said that the alarming rise in hospitalizations is
only getting worse.
“It is the worst we have seen, and it’s continuing to worsen,”
“Though Central California is the first area in the state to hit
0% ICU capacity, it will not be the last,” the Times noted. “The
latest data show that the entire San Joaquin Valley’s ICU capacity
is down to 5.6%, and the Southern California region is hovering
Vohra added, “I don’t think we’ve seen the peak. I think the
peak is yet to come, and I’m very concerned that our hospitals will
not be able to meet the demands that will be placed on them.”