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East Bay hospitals say they are prepared for surge of COVID-19 patients if it comes

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — East Bay hospitals are treating more COVID-19 patients this week than they were last week.​

So far — staffing and capacity levels have been maintained and two major health care systems say they’re ready for a surge — if it comes.

In the past 24 hours, at least 71 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Contra Costa County, and data from Contra Costa Health Services shows more than 400 new cases have been reported in the past week — nearly double the amount of new cases reported the week prior.​

At this time, hospitals are not overwhelmed.​

“We are actually, in a very good spot, both from an ICU capacity standpoint and from the ventilators standpoint,” Nick Mickas said. “So, I feel very comfortable that we would be able to handle a significant increase in space beyond where we are right now.”​

Dr. Nick Mickas is the medical director of clinical operations for John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek and Concord campuses.​

“We were planning for capacity of upwards of 50 additional ICU patients, and we’re at nowhere near our standard capacity, and much less enforcing that plan,” Dr. Mickas said.

In fact, Mickas says the hospitals have set aside a unit on their campuses to care for an influx of patients if need be.​

He says, in discussions with the county, John Muir Health has plans in place to accommodate a potential surge in COVID-19 cases anticipated around Labor Day.​

“The numbers locally aren’t moving in the right direction,” Dr. Mickas said. “Think it’s unclear at this point whether we’re seeing any one particular effect, or whether we’re seeing people just out and about more then they had been as restrictions are lifted.”​

In a statement, a spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente Northern California says:

“The recent increase in cases throughout California is a reminder that the virus is still active in our communities.​ We have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases at Kaiser Permanente hospitals over the past week.​ Our facilities and staff have remained ready to respond to a surge and safely and expertly treat patients with the virus.​”

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