The holiday gathering-fueled coronavirus surge in the South Bay is getting more and more alarming by the day, but Wednesday’s announcement by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department sounds more like the area is headed toward catastrophe.
In a press conference, the county announced that at least 3 of its hospitals had no more available intensive care units.
They are O'Connor Hospital and Regional Medical Center in San Jose, and St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy.
The statement doesn’t exactly mean the facilities are out of beds themselves but more likely out of medical workers to staff them rendering them unavailable.
"The hospitals, and the caregivers, and the nurses, and the doctors are all telling us that they are at their limit. They are telling us they are overwhelmed. We are continuing to see more and more patients at record numbers every day coming into our emergency rooms and into our hospitals," said Dr. Ahmad Kamal, Director of Health Preparedness for Santa Clara County.
The county says, as of Wednesday, there were 31 ICU beds available county-wide, which is just 9.5% of capacity. Officials expect that number to dwindle over the next few weeks as cases continue to rise.
"We certainly are looking at all options, including transferring patients out of the county should that become necessary," said Dr. Kamal
Officials say there are 403 coronavirus patients in Santa Clara County hospitals right now and 66 of them are at Regional Medical Center.
NBC Bay Area reports, Regional Medical Center is still performing surgeries and accepting emergency patients, but elective surgeries have been canceled.
RMC has also ruled out the use of their emergency overflow facilities in the parking lot because of the colder winter temperatures.
According to Santa Clara County’s Covid Dashboard, a record 1,700 new cases were reported in the past day which almost certainly means hospitalizations will be rising over the next 2 weeks.
"Understand, it’s not only transmissions that occurred at Thanksgiving, but secondary transmissions from people that became infected at Thanksgiving. So it accumulates,” UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford told KPIX.
Santa Clara County appears to be holding press conferences daily because there is so much new coronavirus activity in the region. It warned that capacity at all hospitals could run out sooner than expected if these troubling trends continue.