At least three counties in California's San Joaquin Valley, the state's agricultural hub, have no room left in their hospital intensive care units, due to an overwhelming amount of coronavirus patients.
Across the San Joaquin Valley, ICU capacity is down to 5.6 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has imposed a regional stay-at-home order for areas where ICU bed capacity is below 15 percent, which now affects the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, where capacity is at 10.1 percent.
The ICU is staffed with health care professionals who are specially trained to help patients who are critically ill, and people with severe cases of COVID-19 often end up in the ICU because they need to be placed on ventilators or have constant monitoring. When the intensive care units are full, COVID-19 patients could be placed in the emergency room, and some hospitals are setting up overflow sites for other patients.
In Santa Clara County, there are only 31 ICU beds open, less than 10 percent of the county's capacity, and some medical facilities report having zero open beds. "It is the worst we have seen, and it's continuing to worsen," Dr. Ahmad Kamal of Santa Clara County told the Times.
Dr. Rais Vohra, the Fresno County Department of Public Health's interim health officer, echoed this, telling the Times, "All the things that you're hearing about how impacted our hospitals are, about how dire this situation with our ICUs is, it's absolutely true. That really is the reason that we want everyone to stay home as much as possible, at least for the next few weeks until we get this surge under control, as we try to work through the hospitalizations that are just coming in so quickly and try to provide the best care."