'We are at a point of crisis': How local officials are trying to fight a rapidly worsening COVID situation

Beds are scarce and more than 450 healthcare workers at Community Medical Centers are self-isolating after testing positive or being exposed.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Medical officials are seeing yet another surge of COVID-19 cases, leaving them with fewer beds, and even fewer staff.

Now, both health and city officials are hoping to slow the spread as a new testing site comes to downtown Fresno.

"We're going to add a test site at the Grizzlies stadium by MLB. It will be a saliva swab and results in 24 hours," says Fresno City Council president Miguel Arias.

The drive-through site is expected to start up next Tuesday, and will be for essential workers and the uninsured.

Arias says it couldn't come at a better time.

"We are at a point of a crisis," he says.

State statistics show a nearly 2,600-case increase in COVID-19 patients in a day. But California health officials attribute Wednesday's case counts to "the implementation of an auto-processing feature to track report the large volume of COVID-19 cases."

Hospitals are the ones now feeling the hit.

Beds are scarce and more than 450 healthcare workers at Community Medical Centers are self-isolating after testing positive or being exposed.

A 50-bed care site is underway at CRMC to create more space.

"We're preparing for that moment that we may need to use those extra spaces and we're running out of space in the hospital," says Fresno County health officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

So far, Arias says they've spent a little over $93 million on COVID-19 relief, at least $92 million of that coming from CARES funding, and $1 million coming from the city's general fund.

He says they're trying to find ways to do more but with the Christmas holiday ahead, he worries the situation will get worse.

"Our folks are planning for additional morgue space, and mobile morgues. Please stay safe, because if you get sick we won't have a bed for them," says Arias.

Arias encourages people to stay home but to also get tested.

There will be no-cost testing sites happening on Thursday at the Clovis Recreation Center, the Mary Ella center in Fresno, and the Edwin Senior center in Fowler.

1) CLOVIS TESTING SITE


When: Thu, December 17, 9 am - 2 pm

Where: Clovis Rec Center, 3495 Clovis Ave., Clovis, CA 93612

Description: This is a no-cost event with drive-up and walk-up options. No appointment are needed. The test consist of a nasal swab that only takes 30 seconds. It is very easy and painless. Everyone is encouraged to pre-register, but walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to register, please call 1-800-492-4227 or visit www.unitedhealthcenters.org

2) FOWLER TESTING SITE


When: Thu, December 17, 9 am - 12 pm

Where: Edwin Senior Center, 108 N. 3rd Street., Fowler, CA 93625

Description: This is a no-cost event with drive-up and walk-up options. No appointment are needed. The test consist of a nasal swab that only takes 30 seconds. It is very easy and painless. Everyone is encouraged to pre-register, but walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to register, please call 1-800-492-4227 or visit www.unitedhealthcenters.org

3) FRESNO TESTING SITE


When: Thu, December 17, 12pm - 3pm

Where: Mary Ella Brown Center, 1350 E Annadale Ave, Fresno, CA 93706
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