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Hospitals prepare for COVID surge

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Nearly 8,000 Californians are in the hospital because of COVID complications.

In the last 24 hours, the state has recorded more than 14,000 new cases and 20 new COVID related deaths.

Bay Area hospital systems say they’re starting to see an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations and Governor Newsom says without any changes in the way we conduct ourselves, current projections show hospitalizations could increase 2-3 times in one month. 

“Roughly 12% of our new cases, likely will be hospitalizations over a two week period,” Newsom said.

A steady rise in cases is almost certain to bring an uptick in COVID-19 patients across the state. 

When we look at the Bay Area specifically, the governor says 58% of hospital beds are currently occupied, and by Christmas Eve that number is projected to be about 62%.

“Compared to about a month ago, we’re about 2.5 times higher number in hospitalizations right now, including in the ICU,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong with UCSF says fewer people seem to be getting admitted into the ICU because, after eight months of caring for patients, doctors and nurses have better therapies to use. 

Over in Contra Costa County, about 30% of COVID-related hospitalizations being cared for at John Muir health facilities. 

“We’re working on expanding our capacity. Right now our ICU capacity is pretty low, less than 45% of COVID positive patients have been admitted to the ICU,” Toson Boyo, SVP of Operations at John Muir Health, said.

The governor says 72% of ICU beds are currently occupied in the entire Bay Area and we could reach capacity by early January, something John Muir Health says they’re prepared for.

“We’re really prepared over here and are trying to make sure the community understands that regardless of whatever is coming our way, we’re going to do everything we can to take care of every single person regardless of the illness they have,” Boyo said.

All systems say they’ve prepped extra ICU beds and PPE stockpiles but it’s up to the public to adhere to health orders so we don’t overwhelm the system.

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