Northern California hospitals prepare for surge of COVID-19 cases

Northern California hospitals prepare for surge of COVID-19 cases

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As COVID-19 hospitalizations are once again going up across the state, health officials are expressing how exhausting it has been after more than a year of surviving the pandemic while trying to help others afflicted with the virus.Currently, more than 3,000 people in California are hospitalized, and roughly 700 are in intensive care units.”It is getting easier for us? No. This is a pandemic that I’ve never seen,” Catherine Kennedy, a registered nurse and president of the California Nurses Association, said. “In 41 years, I’ve seen AIDS. I’ve seen Ebola, but this has really taken a toll on everybody. Nurses, physicians — we are all exhausted.”As the uptick in new coronavirus cases holds steady, some nurses are not ready to go back to the frontlines. Cristobal Vera is a traveling nurse who decided to take a break from health care after working six days a week for half a year.Vera said he lost about 30 pounds during his time on the frontlines of the pandemic because he would not have time for a lunch break.”And when I got home, I would rather sleep than eat because I was so tired,” Vera said.He said one of the most difficult parts of working was the video calls people would have with their loved ones — the only way many could during the height of the pandemic — as their last goodbyes.In California, the state’s population remains at 61% vaccinated, roughly 9% short of the target percentage to achieve herd immunity. And as most COVID-19 cases are unvaccinated people, health care systems are continuing to prepare and make sure there is enough room for more patients.Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento recently set up tents to test Pre-OP patients for COVID. Part of that is an effort to reduce exposure to other patients. The hospital has also set up a ‘surge tent’ to prepare in the event of another spike in hospitalizations.In June, UC Davis had fewer than 10 COVID patients daily. That number is now between 15 to 25 patients. Four weeks ago, the emergency room had 18 patients in one week. Last week, that jumped to 82, and 40% of those patients were between 20 and 39 years of age.UC Davis Health officials add that all of the patients currently admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.Sutter Health is also admitting more patients and is still using technology to assist patients across Northern California. The biggest patient increase has been at the Sacramento and Roseville locations.”Sutter Health electronic ICU remains a very big part of the Sutter health response plan for covid-19. We are still able to provide top-quality care,” said Dr. Vanessa Walker, the medical director of the electronic ICU for the Valley Area at Sutter Health.A spokesperson with Kaiser Permanente says that they saw the increased community spread following the Fourth of July holiday and added that this has become a pattern following major holidays.

As COVID-19 hospitalizations are once again going up across the state, health officials are expressing how exhausting it has been after more than a year of surviving the pandemic while trying to help others afflicted with the virus.

Currently, more than 3,000 people in California are hospitalized, and roughly 700 are in intensive care units.

“It is getting easier for us? No. This is a pandemic that I’ve never seen,” Catherine Kennedy, a registered nurse and president of the California Nurses Association, said. “In 41 years, I’ve seen AIDS. I’ve seen Ebola, but this has really taken a toll on everybody. Nurses, physicians — we are all exhausted.”

As the uptick in new coronavirus cases holds steady, some nurses are not ready to go back to the frontlines. Cristobal Vera is a traveling nurse who decided to take a break from health care after working six days a week for half a year.

Vera said he lost about 30 pounds during his time on the frontlines of the pandemic because he would not have time for a lunch break.

“And when I got home, I would rather sleep than eat because I was so tired,” Vera said.

He said one of the most difficult parts of working was the video calls people would have with their loved ones — the only way many could during the height of the pandemic — as their last goodbyes.

In California, the state’s population remains at 61% vaccinated, roughly 9% short of the target percentage to achieve herd immunity. And as most COVID-19 cases are unvaccinated people, health care systems are continuing to prepare and make sure there is enough room for more patients.

Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento recently set up tents to test Pre-OP patients for COVID. Part of that is an effort to reduce exposure to other patients. The hospital has also set up a ‘surge tent’ to prepare in the event of another spike in hospitalizations.

In June, UC Davis had fewer than 10 COVID patients daily. That number is now between 15 to 25 patients. Four weeks ago, the emergency room had 18 patients in one week. Last week, that jumped to 82, and 40% of those patients were between 20 and 39 years of age.

UC Davis Health officials add that all of the patients currently admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Sutter Health is also admitting more patients and is still using technology to assist patients across Northern California. The biggest patient increase has been at the Sacramento and Roseville locations.

“Sutter Health electronic ICU remains a very big part of the Sutter health response plan for covid-19. We are still able to provide top-quality care,” said Dr. Vanessa Walker, the medical director of the electronic ICU for the Valley Area at Sutter Health.

A spokesperson with Kaiser Permanente says that they saw the increased community spread following the Fourth of July holiday and added that this has become a pattern following major holidays.

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Jenny Oslen