NAPA, Calif. (KRON) – COVID cases are surging and the number of available ICU beds is shrinking.

The warning from experts as we head into what could be a long and difficult January.

Napa County officials are reporting that there are no ICU beds currently available in the county.

The rapid rise in COVID cases is straining the healthcare system there.

An increase in patients and a lack of staffing because of new COVID-19 infections has brought ICU bed capacity in Napa County to zero.

“We’ve known this was coming. The number of beds are getting taken up by patients with COVID because the number of cases of COVID are skyrocketing,” Dr. John Swartzberg reports. 

Infectious disease specialist Dr. John Swartzberg acknowledges Napa County’s hospital system is smaller than most in the Bay Area, but the lack of beds and omicron variant’s threat to health care workers could be a red flag for the rest of the region.

“Even if you’ve got plenty of ICU beds open, even if you’ve got plenty of ventilators if you don’t have the health care workers to take care of the patients in those beds you’re not going to be able to care for them,” Dr. Swartzberg said. 

Most infections from the omicron variant have been reported as being less severe but Dr. Swartzberg says that does not mean patients will stop coming into hospitals.

Studies have shown the variant is also highly transmissible.

As the cases continue to climb, health experts continue to preach prevention as the most important step to take.

“There’s no perfect way to do this,” Dr. Swartzberg reports.