Sacramento County health officials warn of rising COVID-19 hospitalizations before holiday weekend

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento County’s health director sent the public a stern warning Tuesday after an alarming rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Just a few weeks ago, the Sacramento region was doing comparatively well fighting the spread of COVID-19.

“Sacramento, as you may remember, had the lowest number of cases per capita of any major urban area in the United States,” Sacramento County Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson told FOX40.

Beilenson said a combination of cabin fever and message fatigue likely caused people to let their guard down and now Sacramento County is seeing some troubling numbers: 98 confirmed COVID-19 hospital patients and 28 in intensive care.

“Which is compared to eight and two three weeks ago,” said Beilenson. “So, a more than tenfold increase in hospitalizations. And we’ve had a thousand more cases in the last week, compared to a total of 2,000 the previous 18 weeks.”

As for hospital beds, the county still has about 800 COVID-19 surge capacity beds and about 100 ICU beds available. But Beilenson said if current trends continue, the county will risk overwhelming that capacity.

“Yes, we clearly do. That is single biggest problem that we’re trying to avoid is to avoid the kinds of problems that they had in New York and Philadelphia and Baltimore and Boston,” explained Beilenson.

If needed, Sleep Train Arena is still set up as a field hospital under the direction of California’s Office of Emergency Services.

The communications team at Cal OES declined an on-camera interview about the site but in an email statement, spokesman Bryan May said, “We have no immediate plans for Sleep Train Arena, although it remains in a warm shutdown state and is available if needed.”

Beilenson urged everyone to help stop the exponential spread of COVID-19 this Fourth of July. He said that means no big flotillas on the river, no beach parties and no barbecues with anyone other than the everyday members of your household.

“Just for this one Fourth of July be patriotic by staying at home,” said Beilenson.

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