State Stay-At-Home Order Extended For San Joaquin Valley Region
Sonora, CA — California has extended its strict stay-at-home orders where areas are running out of ICU beds, including the San Joaquin Valley Region that includes Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Mariposa counties.
At a COVID-19 update briefing, the state’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly stated, “Essentially we are projecting that the ICU capacity is not improving in Southern California and San Joaquin Valley and that the demand will continue to exceed capacity.”
Regarding the situation in hospitals in the southern and San Joaquin Valley regions of the state Ghaly noted, “We have not heard yet that any hospital is at the point where they need to make a decision between two patients who both need a ventilator, and they only have one ventilator.” Ghaly added that some overwhelmed hospitals do not have space to unload ambulances or get oxygen to patients who cannot breathe and that some Southern California hospitals have begun to implement parts of crisis care.
State officials notified hospitals late Monday they should prepare for the possibility that they will have to resort to “crisis care” guidelines established earlier in the pandemic, which allow for rationing treatment when staff, medicine and supplies are in short supply. Kim McCoy Wade, director of the California Department of Aging stated that decisions about medical care cannot be made based on income, age, or gender, instead, they are grounded primarily “in the likelihood of surviving in the near term.”
Both regions again reported zero percent availability on Tuesday, although that does not mean there are no beds; it is calculated based on the proportion of ICU patients who have COVID-19, to ensure hospitals have enough beds to treat all critical patients.
While hospital and positivity rates appear to be stabilizing from a Thanksgiving-related surge, the Christmas holiday travel could send the numbers soaring again, Ghaly cautioned, “We brace to see what levels of transmission we see coming out of these important moments of celebration, but I’ll remind you as we go into the New Year’s weekend, do as much as you can. Decide to celebrate virtually. Make a decision to protect yourself and help us stop the surge.”
Ghaly implored the state’s 40 million residents to continue social distancing and wearing masks especially if they must go out this holiday weekend. “We are in this moment where it can really make a difference. That each of us has the tool and power to actually save a life, get the transmission rate down and help continue to be about supporting and saving lives as much as we can as we get through this winter surge.”