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Fresno's Top Doc Says Lifting of State COVID Order Was 'Disorienting'
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By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 3 years ago on
January 27, 2021

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Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the stay at home order Monday based on projections that hospital intensive care capacity would climb above 15% within the next 4-weeks.

In the San Joaquin Valley Region, as defined by California’s online dashboard, ICU capacity remains at 0% as of Tuesday.

Getting into the more granular data shows not much has changed, at least in recent days.

  • Fresno County, 8 ICU beds available
  • Madera County, 0 ICU beds available
  • Merced County, 1 ICU bed available
  • Kings County, 2 ICU beds available
  • Tulare County, 12 ICU beds available

“It is disorienting,” says Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra. “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t expect this announcement to come as soon as it did.”

Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County interim health officer

“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t expect this announcement to come as soon as it did.”Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra reacting to lifting of stay at home order. 

Vohra says he’s glad people can once again do some things they haven’t been able to do for nearly two months. Things like get a haircut, go to a nail salon, or eat outdoors at a restaurant again.

But, for frontline healthcare workers still in the throes of the pandemic Vohra says not much has changed. “People are still tired. Our health care heroes are tired,” says Vohra.

State Data Explained

Vohra says the state’s projections are based on when a patient is admitted to an ICU, usually after they’ve had the coronavirus for five to 10 days.

“Whenever you see the ICU is really full today, obviously that’s very concerning,” explains Vohra. “But if your numbers start dropping down in terms of your your cases per day, then that will eventually lead to a drop in your hospitalizations.”

The state released updated numbers in its ‘Blueprint for a Safer Economy‘ website Tuesday that indicate Fresno County’s Covid-19 infections have begun to decline in recent days.

The county’s 7 day positivity rate is 15.3%, down from over 18% a few days ago.

“I’m knocking on wood really hard,” says Vohra. “I’m just I’m just hoping that these projections do prove accurate.”

It Would Be a Shame

“It would be such a shame if everyone rushed out and made unsafe choices that led to our health care system being severely impacted again,” says Vohra.

Vohra is hinting at the last time he saw a large surge after the Thanksgiving holiday when people gathering indoors more lead to a large increase in hospitalizations.

More Healthcare Workers Opt for Vaccines

“We’re definitely getting more health care workers in those settings that are saying yes to the vaccine as we progress.”Fresno County Community Health Manager Joe Prado

What has changed since the last big surge is the availability of a vaccine for frontline healthcare workers.

At the beginning of January, Fresno County Community Health Manager Joe Prado said between 50%-60% of frontline healthcare workers were opting out of receiving vaccine.

With supply lines at a trickle, and vaccination sites scaling back this week, GV Wire℠ asked Prado if any of those healthcare workers have changed their minds.

“We’re definitely getting more health care workers in those settings that are saying yes to the vaccine as we progress,” answered Prado. He says it’s not a high number, but it is improvement.

Making matters more complicated is the amount of vaccine coming into the county is still far below what Prado is asking for.

Last week, he asked for 38,000 doses and received just 8,000.

This week, he again asked for 38,000 doses and received 12,000 doses.

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