California Governor Gavin Newsom’s warning on Thursday that beds in intensive care units are filling up resonates strongly in South Bay.
Santa Clara County public health officials say the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has put them on the brink of a new stay-at-home warrant. A new order will be launched if the capacity of beds in the intensive care unit drops below 15%.
There are already hospitals in the county with a capacity well over 90%. Each hospital has presented a cure plan on how to make more space.
“So that includes putting into service beds that are not normally used. This may include turning some non-clinical areas into clinical areas, ”said Ahmad Kamal, director of Emergency Operations Center Preparedness.
In San Jose, the Amberwood Gardens nursing facility reported 151 positive cases – 81 residents and 70 employees. At the Boccardo Reception Center, a homeless shelter, 60 cases were reported in just over a week.
“As COVID rates increase in our community, more people will go to the ICU and you will have more outbreaks in the congregation sites,” said Dr. George Han, deputy chief public health officer for the county, said.
Officials say setting up external surge protection facilities, as they did at the start of the pandemic, will be more difficult due to a lack of staff.
“Nursing staff is very sparse and spread across the country, so we are very concerned about the prolonged staff crisis,” said Kamal.
For now, hospitals continue to create ICU space, including by postponing non-emergency operations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.