STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – As San Joaquin County hospitals scramble to add intensive care unit beds to meet patient demand, county health officials are worried about having enough hospital staff.
“Today we are at 228 hospitalized COVID patients across all seven of the hospitals in our county,” San Joaquin County EMS spokesperson Marissa Matta told FOX40 Tuesday.
While the state-designated San Joaquin Valley Region, which stretches all the way down to Kern County, sits at around 5.5% of ICU bed capacity, San Joaquin County itself is below that number.
State data shows ICU bed availability in the county to be around 2.5%.
Matta said state numbers reflect pre-COVID-19 ICU bed numbers while hospitals are adding beds as needed.
“Normally, we would have about 99,” Matta explained. “Right now, I see we have 109. That’s what’s in use as of today.”
Matta said another issue is having enough people to help those patients so she said they are currently recruiting.
“So, what we have done is activated the EMS system and said, ‘Hey paramedics, we have a couple of hospitals that have reported to us that they might have staffing issues. So, would you be willing to work in these hospitals that have reported to us that their staffing levels are looking low?’” Matta said.
San Joaquin County isn’t the only county with single-digit ICU availability. Neighboring Stanislaus County is around 6.5% as of Tuesday, according to state-provided data.
Matta also said they are urging anybody who feels ill with COVID-19 symptoms to please go to a hospital. She said the longer people wait, the more stress it puts on the hospitals, explaining that hospitals are constantly sending home patients who are well enough to leave to alleviate the numbers in hospitals and make room for other patients.