The COVID-19 surge still affecting Central California is so dire that health officials are pleading with state officials to make it easier to transfer hospital patients to areas like Los Angeles County.
“We don’t have enough hospitals to serve the population and the needs,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, the Fresno County interim health officer. Hospitals across the entire San Joaquin Valley are “often running over capacity, so that they’re holding dozens and dozens of patients in the emergency department.”
Officials in the San Joaquin Valley are expecting a difficult winter. Vaccination rates are still relatively low, and in Fresno County, the region’s most populous county, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is quadruple what is being seen in L.A. and Orange counties, and more than quintuple that of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hospitals are consistently operating above capacity, and emergency rooms are still so packed that ambulances are stuck waiting outside hospitals to drop off patients, said Dale Dotson, operations coordinator for the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency.
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