State assistance with staffing helping Central California hospitals during COVID surge

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- ICU bed space remains extremely low across Central California but local hospitals are beginning to see some relief.

The state recently sent 88 nurses to hospitals across Fresno, Madera and Tulare Counties to help lessen the burden on staff while they deal with surging COVID cases brought on by the Delta variant.

"When we say the capacity is still at 130% for example, it's much more manageable because we have staffing now to basically deal with that overcapacity," says Fresno County EMS Director Dan Lynch.

The addition of state staffing is encouraging news, but Fresno County Public Health officials admit hospitals remain overwhelmed by the number of patients seeking emergency treatment.

Fresno County has operated with less than 10% ICU bed space for the entire month of September

"Every little bit helps, but we still feel that we're very much challenged with everything that hospitals are being asked to do to take care of patients," says Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

Dr. Vohra believes Fresno County has hit its peak of COVID-19 patients for this latest surge, but it could still be several weeks before we see a significant decline in cases.

"Things won't be back to normal at the hospital level by October, so they'll continue to be asked to work very hard," he said. "But we do feel like there is a sense of a plateau, a very high plateau but that's where things seem to be."
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