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ICU Utilization Remains High In County Hospitals
sj covid

Hospitals in San Joaquin County report having 333 COVID positive patients admitted for care. Demand for intensive care services remains near record high with adult intensive care units (ICU) operating at 155 percent of licensed bed capacity as of Monday afternoon, Jan. 11.

Despite the ICU rate, health officials remind residents to always seek proper care. If you are experiencing a medical emergency such as a heart attack, stroke, difficulty breathing or altered mental status contact 911 to activate the EMS system. If you are ill or sick, contact your physician or healthcare provider.

At the recent San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors meeting, county Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park and San Joaquin County Director of Health Care Services, Greg Diederich, gave a presentation and asked the Board to consider additional financial assistance to fund COVID-19 related activities. Those events would include such items as expanded COVID-19 testing services, external COVID-19 vaccination services, Public Health mobile vaccination teams, a Public Health warehouse and distribution management team, Public Health communications, emergency medical services, and other COVID-19 related services. The Board instructed the County Administrator’s Office to explore additional funding opportunities to support these activities and report back to the Board at a future meeting.

Supervisors also took action on a number of COVID-19 Consent Items. Those included:

• Retroactive Approval of an increase to the purchase order with Stem Express for COVID-19 employee testing, increasing the amount by $162,000 for a total not to exceed cost of $362,000 for the period Aug. 3, 2020 through June 30, 2021 and approval of related budget adjustments.

• Approved budget adjustments related to prior approval of acceptance of funds from the California Department of Public Health received through the Federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases Program.

Dr. Park told board members that the California Department of Public Health recently distributed the “California Crisis Care Continuum Guidelines: Implementing During the Surge of COVID-19” which will require hospitals to provide their crisis care plans to the County and State based on space, staff, supplies and level of care. She noted while hospitals and staff are feeling the heavy burden of working at capacity, they are currently operating at the contingency level and have not reached crisis stage.

Additionally, the State visited San Joaquin County on Jan. 1 to see first-hand the condition of local hospitals including medical staffing, space contingencies, morgue capacity and discharge efficiencies.

“We know there is extreme COVID fatigue among the community. Despite the warnings and the surge in hospitalizations and deaths, people continue to gather understanding the consequences. That is why we now need to shift our focus to vaccinations. They are the best hope to reduce our COVID cases and hospitalizations and finally get the State to allow us to reopen businesses, schools and everyday activities,” said Dr. Park.

With San Joaquin County remaining under the ‘stay at home’ order, health officials re-emphasized the COVID precautions.

Stay home; Avoid people outside your household; Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; Wear a face mask when out in public; Cover your cough or sneeze; Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces; Maintain physical distance of six feet whenever outside of the house; Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.