California

Overflow Patient Site in South Valley Will Open as Local COVID Hospitalizations Surge

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In one week Fresno County’s COVID-19 positivity rate went from 6.4% up to 11.3%.

The San Joaquin Valley region, as defined by Gov. Gavin Newsom, only has 5.6% of its ICU beds available. That’s the lowest of any region in the state. As of Sunday, Fresno County had just 7 ICU beds available.

California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly updated the latest numbers during a midday briefing with reporters.

WATCH: Dr. Ghaly Briefs Media on Rising COVID-19 Numbers

ICU Hospitalizations Increased 70.8%

Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County interim health officer

“The team is tired and we really do need to support all of the front line workers across the county and state during this very tough time.”Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra

Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra says he witnessed first hand how impacted the ICU is as he completed a shift there this past weekend.

“My team is doing the very best they can,” says Vohra. “The team is tired and we really do need to support all of the front line workers across the county and state during this very tough time.”

Ghaly says COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 70.8% over the last 14 days, while ICU hospitalizations from the disease have increased 68.7% over the same timeframe. He also says Valley patients might have go to to ICUs in regions like the Bay Area where more beds are available if local numbers continue to rise. But, NBC Bay Area is reporting that Regional Medical Center in San Jose says it is already at capacity.

Fresno County Cases per 100k

The other statistic to dramatically rise just since last week, cases per 100k residents.

California health officials gave a little extra credit to Fresno County for exceeding testing goals last week when reporting a 13.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100K.

Fast forward to this week, and that number is 23.6 new COVID-19 cases per 100K.

“We want everyone to stay at home as much as possible, at least for the next several weeks during this surge,” said Vohra.

Porterville Alternative Care Site

Fresno County EMS Director Dan Lynch announced on a Tuesday afternoon call with reporters, “The Porterville alternate care site is scheduled to open Monday, December 14th.”

The Porterville Developmental Center is an alternate care site that will care for patients who are less sick, allowing hospitals to treat more severe cases.

Lynch says the site will initially be used for about 20-25 patients, it will have the ability to ramp up to a capacity of 123 but that will take some time.

Foster Farms Outbreak

CalMatters reports that Foster Farms had to shut down its facility on Cherry Street in Fresno following a coronavirus outbreak.

Over the past two weeks, 193 workers at the 1,400-person facility in southwest Fresno tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ira Brill, vice president of communications for Foster Farms. None of the employees exhibited any symptoms, Brill said.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health says they’re in close contact with the management of the plant to help support them through the outbreak.

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