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COVID crisis: No more ICU beds at 3 Bay Area hospitals

Coronavirus

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Three hospitals in the South Bay have reached ICU capacity, according to the Santa Clara County Health Department.

According to health officials, the following hospitals have reached capacity as of Wednesday, Dec. 9:

  • Regional Medical Center (San Jose)
  • O’Connor Hospital (San Jose)
  • St Louise Hospital (Gilroy)

403 people in Santa Clara County are hospitalized with the virus, including 10 kids.

Additionally, 31 ICU beds are available in the entire county.

ICU capacity throughout California is a cause for concern and the breaking point for leaders in issuing stricter rules during the pandemic.

“If we continue the rate of transmission, we may see the worst case scenarios that were realized in Italy and New York and Texas and other countries,” Dr. Ahmad Kamal said.

They are concerned hospitals won’t be able to treat all the people who need intensive care, whether it’s due to COVID-19 or other serious medical conditions.

Hospital capacity across the county is at roughly 9.5 percent, well below the state’s 15-percent trigger for tighter controls.   

At regional, 66 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, straining resources but hospitals have long planned for such a surge.  

Sounding an optimistic note was Regional’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tarahnum Guller.

“Patients, they recognize their symptoms sooner because there’s been so much conversation around it and they tend to come into the hospital sooner if they’re short of breath or have any other symptoms, and once they are here, we are well prepared. We know exactly what we did the last time, what we did right, what worked, what didn’t work, so we’re able to channel patients through that process,” Dr. Guller said. 

Some hospitals are using beds in post-acute units but colder weather may rule out the use of parking lot tents.  

If necessary, regional cold transfer patients to the good samaritan, it’s sister hospital. 

The worst case would see patients transferred out of the county. The sharp rise in

hospitalizations have resulted, as predicted, from thanksgiving gatherings and the worst may be still to come, says Dr. Kamal.

“There was a day not too long ago where we saw 1,450 new diagnoses so we may see up to 100 new cases a day hitting hospitals in the next couple of days, so we’re in the need of it, but it’s not over yet,” Dr. Kamal said.

A South Bay family took part in the COVID-19 vaccine trials and is encouraging others to trust science and receive the vaccine when it is available.

As part of the trials, the family says they didn’t know if they were given the actual Pfizer vaccine or a placebo. 

The Eisenmann family says they volunteered in the process to help people get back to their normal lives. 

Jeff Eisenman says he knows some people are skeptical about taking the vaccine but hopes people would be encouraged to take it by seeing him. 

Soon, millions of COVID-19 vaccines will begin to flow to states across the country, and into the arms of Americans looking to protect themselves from coronavirus. 

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