Valley hospitals seeing increase in COVID-19 patients as cases surge

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley hospitals have seen a surge of coronavirus patients in the past two weeks.

Health officials worry we may eventually reach levels we haven't seen in Fresno County since July.

The Fall saw a rise in local COVID cases.

"And then we started to see the numbers slowly go back up and now we are right back at where we were when the pandemic first started picking up steam," says Dr. Walter Egerton at Saint Agnes Medical Center.

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As Fresno County sees a second surge of COVID-19 cases, lines to get tested for the virus are getting longer.

On Monday, Community Medical Centers reported 107 inpatients tested positive for COVID. That is a 40% increase in a week's time.

Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia saw their numbers recently go from 14 to 40.

Officials there say people who let their guard down and don't heed the warnings often regret the decision.

"No one seems sick and it's always three or four days later, and what you sit back and reflect on is, if I had only worn a mask, right," says Keri Noeske, Chief Nursing Officer at Kaweah Delta. "If I had just kept a little distance."

Valley Children's Hospital in Madera County has not seen a COVID surge among kids.

But the hospital's Medical Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease warns about how holiday parties can easily spread the virus.

Small outdoor gatherings are best.

"You want areas that are well-ventilated," says Dr. Nael Mhaissen. "Try to avoid activities that increase the risk of transmission of the virus from droplets and secretions in the airways, such as shouting or singing or loud-speaking.

About 150 COVID patients are hospitalized in Fresno County right now.

That number peaked in July, when twice as many people were in the hospital.
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