Portion of local hospital staff sidelined due to COVID-19 exposure

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At Community Regional Medical Center in Downtown Fresno, Emergency Room Physician Dr. Kenny Banh has witnessed firsthand as patient numbers slowly, but steadily, rise.

"We can handle the surge currently, but we're sort of not quite to the breaking point, but sort of close to it eventually," he said.

The largest trauma center in the Central Valley is used to dealing with crises. But the pandemic has now pushed patient volumes to historical highs.

It's not only the patient load rising; Several hundred hospital staff are also sidelined at both CRMC and Clovis Community Hospital.

As of Monday, 219 medical workers were home for either testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed to it.

Doctors are monitoring local statistics for any indication of what lies ahead.

"We're watching those numbers carefully day in and day out," Dr. Banh said. "There's a chance we may be peaking and coming down and that would be great. But it's too early to say if numbers are heading in the right direction or if we're still climbing up."

So far, the overflow facility at the Fresno Convention Center has not been used. If levels continue to go up, the pop-up hospital will be utilized soon.

Every day, medical teams at both Community Regional in Fresno and Clovis use 3,000 N-95 masks. Thanks to a shipment of 100,000 this week, hospital workers have enough PPE for the next month.

In addition, a shipment of Remdesivir arrived. It's enough to treat 30 patients and another shipment is expected later this week.

As exposed as Dr. Banh is working in a contagious hot zone everyday, what he sees when he leaves the hospital is most concerning to him.

"And so why am I gowning up in full gear if other people are just passing it around," he said. "Going to their friends house and having a big birthday party. Which is really if we don't take some ownership or responsibility, all the things we do here in healthcare aren't going to make a difference."
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