Fresno County passes peak of Omicron surge, but hospitals still strained

According to health officials, looking at data from the state health department, the number of COVID cases is trending down.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Following the trend in other parts of California, the Omicron surge is settling in Fresno County.

The Central Valley saw the start of its Omicron surge a few weeks later than other parts of the state.

According to health officials, looking at data from the state health department, the number of COVID cases is trending down.

"It does appear, based off the data, that we have passed our peak," explained Dr. Trinidad Solis, with the Fresno County Health Department. "We started to see the numbers come down towards the end of January, early February."

According to Dr. Solis, while COVID case numbers are improving, the health department doesn't consider it low compared to other surges.

As of Wednesday, Fresno County had a little less than 2,000 new cases. In last winter's surge, which ended around January 2021, the county had less than 1,000 new cases.

This is why health leaders say the county isn't out of the woods just yet.

"Meaning if you're in a high-risk setting, such as indoors, crowded, and you don't know other people's vaccination status, it's a good idea to wear a mask," Dr. Solis said. "If you haven't already, number one, get vaccinated."

Despite a drop in cases, Fresno County hospitals are still strained.

"If we look back to the end of December, there were was under 200 COVID patients in the hospital," shared David Bacci, regional vice president of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.

He added: "Even today, though we appear to have passed that peak, we still have over 500 people in the hospitals with COVID."

According to Bacci, hospitalizations are expected to decrease. When that happens, hospitals are going to have to play catch-up with non-COVID patients.

"We have a lot of people who delayed care, a lot of people who were forced to delay care because different surgical procedures couldn't happen," said Bacci.

Health leaders are unsure when hospitals will start to operate normally. They said it could be well into March.

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