Hospitals in California’s Central Valley increasingly overwhelmed by COVID surge

California
Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno has been strained by the fourth pandemic wave.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno has been strained by the fourth pandemic wave.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Hospitals in California’s Central Valley have been increasingly overwhelmed by the fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, with officials scrambling to transfer some critically ill patients more than 100 miles away because local intensive care units are full.

The San Joaquin Valley, the Sacramento area and rural Northern California are now the regions of the state being hit the hardest by COVID-19 hospitalizations on a per capita basis, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis. The regions have lower vaccination rates than in the highly populated, coastal areas of Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Our system is still paralyzed and is at a standstill, as we’re trying to move a huge number of patients through this healthcare system that is completely overwhelmed,” Dan Lynch, who oversees emergency medical services for Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties, said at a recent media briefing.

The worst may not be over. According to COVID-19 computer models published by the state Department of Public Health, the number of ICU patients in the San Joaquin Valley is expected to increase well into the rest of September, and hundreds more people could be dead by the end of the month.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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