Hospitalizations projected to surge across state, Central Coast hospitals prepared

Posted at 5:49 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 23:10:49-05

A surge in COVID-19 cases has state health officials concerned about an increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the spike, releasing new data on the projected increase in hospital and ICU hospital bed usage.

“Roughly 12% of our new cases likely will be hospitalizations over a two-week period," Governor Newsom said.

California currently has 59% of beds in use, which is projected to rise to 78% by Christmas Eve. ICU beds are also expected to jump to 112% from the current 75% usage.

On the Central Coast, the need for beds is not as critical as compared to other parts of the state.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Scott Robertson from Dignity Health Central Coast says surges in COVID-19 cases during the initial months of the pandemic and over the summer helped Marian Regional Medical Center prepare for critical patient care.

“That experience has lead us to continue to have this degree of preparation that we have now as we’re experiencing an increased number of incidents of patients within the community that are testing positive for COVID-19," Dr. Robertson said.

Dr. Robertson says having necessary clinical staff on-hand has been key, which is altered based upon the hospital's census.

Numbers from Monday show more than half of Santa Barbara County's hospital beds are in use, with 9% being COVID-positive patients.

52% of ICU beds were also in use, with 14% being COVID-positive patients.

While an increase of COVID-19 rates has been more of a concern for hospitals across the state, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein says so far, SLO County has been lucky.

SLO County continues to see very few hospitalizations and even fewer people sick enough to need intensive care locally.

Protective measures are still urged, however, during the constantly-changing pandemic.

Tenet Health Central Coast says its hospitals have separate areas for COVID-19-positive patients and the general public population and they stand ready for any surge in COVID cases.