ICU Beds Running Out in California As Only 4 Facilities Ready to Accept Patients

Novel coronavirus cases in California have climbed to at least 354,885, as of Thursday. Total COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) across the state have nearly doubled since the figure reported about a month ago, according to data compiled by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The state reported 1,907 positive patients in ICU on Tuesday, nearly double the 1,053 positive patients reported to be in ICU a month earlier on June 14, according to the department.

Four facilities in California—in the counties of San Mateo, Imperial, Orange and Tulare—were reported to be ready to accept patients, according to the state health department.

ICU beds were reported to be running out in several regions, including San Joaquin County, where ICUs were said to be operating at 121 percent capacity, with over half of patients being COVID-19 patients, according to data from the San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency.

On Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU was recorded as 51, surpassing the 34 ICU beds available on the same day, according to the state health department.

COVID-19 patient hospitalizations in San Joaquin, as well infected patients in ICU, have been spiking on a sharp incline from early June, according to data compiled by the San Joaquin EMS Agency.

"We have the beds but we don't have the staff to work those beds. So that's really the main goal right now, is staffing," an San Joaquin County EMS specialist, Marissa Matta, told CBS Sacramento Wednesday.

"I think people hear that and see the numbers and it really prevents people who are scared from seeking medical attention," she added.

On Tuesday, San Bernardino County also reported a surplus in COVID-19 patients in ICU, with only 158 ICU beds available for its 174 COVID-19 patients in ICU. On Tuesday, Imperial County also reported more COVID-19 patients (23) than available beds (six) in ICU, the department reported.

The ICUs in Kings County and Butte County were each reported to have had no beds available Tuesday to accommodate their eight to nine COVID-19 patients, the department reported.

Los Angeles County, the state's worst-hit region, was reported to have the most number of available ICU beds, with 1,297 available, according to the latest report from the department.

Confirmed COVID-19 patient hospitalizations, infected patients in ICU and COVID-19 patients placed on a ventilator have each been mostly increasing from around mid-June, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles County health department.

New cases across the state continue to emerge. The total number of new infections reported in the past week surged by 15.5 percent from the total recorded the previous week.

The state reported 62,400 new cases from July 9 to 15, a nearly 20 percent rise from the 54,000 new cases reported from July 2 to 8 a week earlier, according to Johns Hopkins University.

coronavirus testing Los Angeles California
St. John’s Well Child & Family Center workers getting tested for COVID-19 at a free mobile test clinic in Los Angeles, California on July 15, 2020. Getty Images

Last month, bars in seven California counties, including Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, were ordered to close "due to the rising spread of #COVID19," California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a post on his official Twitter account.

Bars in eight other counties, including Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura, have been recommended to close, Newsom noted in the post.

Over 13.5 million people across the globe have been infected since the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, including 3.4 million in the U.S. More than 7.5 million globally have reportedly recovered from infection, while over 584,700 have died as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates U.S. states where reopenings have been stalled or reversed.

U.S. states stalling or reversing reopenings
U.S. states that are stalling or reversing their reopening plans. STATISTA

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

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The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the countries with the most COVID-19 cases.

Countries with most COVID-19 cases
Countries with the most COVID-19 cases. STATISTA