SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Sacramento County has reached a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to state data.
Numbers from the California Department of Public Health show Sacramento County hit a record of 533 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 on Saturday, surpassing the previous high of 518 hospitalizations on Dec. 22, 2020. As of Jan. 16, the county has 547 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including 96 in the ICU.
Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said she expects those numbers to keep going up.
“All the projections indicate that we will likely will reach a peak somewhere in late January or early February,” Dr. Kasirye said. “We’re still seeing cases trending upward.”
Sacramento County has also surpassed past percentages of weekly emergency room visits linked to “corona-like illness,” the county’s dashboard said.
In a briefing with reporters Thursday, Dr. Kasirye asked the public to try staying home if they feel ill and “preserve the emergency room visits for real emergencies.”
Dr. Kasirye also said the county has been reaching out to the state for help with hospital staffing support.
On Jan. 10, California health authorities announced that hospital staff members who test positive but are symptom-free can continue working. The Department of Public Health said the new policy was prompted by “critical staffing shortages.” It asked hospitals to make every attempt to fill openings by bringing in employees from outside staffing agencies.
“We recognize how weary those staff are,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom while visiting a Southern California testing site last week.
At the time, Newsom said California had contracted over 2,300 out-of-state health care staff in recent weeks, and more were on their way.
Sacramento County just recently adjusted its guidelines for so-called “mega events.” Indoor events with more than 500 attendees or outdoor events that exceed 5,000 attendees will need to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Those guidelines began Jan. 15, with prior county guidance having set those numbers at 1,000 people for indoor events and 10,000 outdoors.
“This is a measured step that we can take that would allow us to be able to continue providing access to public services without cutting off that access for the public,” Kasirye said about the guidelines.
A Kaiser Permanente spokesperson told FOX40 they are currently monitoring their hospital status and are adjusting elective and non-urgent surgeries as needed, and offering telehealth care as opposed to in-person.
CVS pharmacies in California are one of 11 states to receive the COVID-19 pills, a spokesperson confirmed with FOX40. However, supply is limited to patients who get prescribed the medication through their health care provider.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the two pills from Pfizer and Merck late last month based on studies showing they cut the risk of severe disease and death when given shortly after symptoms appear. It is unclear which pill is available through CVS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.