Hospitals plead for public's vigilance ahead of Labor Day weekend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dr. Harjoth Malli doesn't know for sure how he contracted the coronavirus earlier this summer.

But his symptoms were wide-ranging and intense.

"I was pretty surprised by just how severe my asthma was exacerbated by this virus," Dr. Malli said. "I hadn't experienced anything like that as an adult."

As the director of Kaweah Delta's intensive care units, Dr. Malli has been treating COVID-19 patients since the spring.

But roles were reversed in early July when he spent five days fighting the virus at the hospital.

He returned to work earlier this month, as frontline workers pulled together to treat a consistently high number of COVID-positive patients following the 4th of July holiday.

Some pulled through without the need for critical care.

Others didn't fare as well.

"For those patients, and we had many of them, that came late into the presentation when their lungs were already severely affected by the virus, that was difficult," Dr. Malli said. "Because those patients at that time were being put on life support measures right off the gates in the emergency room or soon after being admitted to one of the intensive care units."

Kaweah Delta hit its highest number of COVID-19 positive patients about a month ago: 91.

On Wednesday, the number is 44.

But Labor Day is right around the corner, and leaders at Kaweah Delta are optimistic that people will do their part to stop the spread of the virus.

For those who don't plan to, or don't believe it's a real threat, all Dr. Malli asks is that you educate yourself using some unbiased, scientific sources.

"Education is generally the best way for anyone to see the light," he said.

A military healthcare team has been helping care for patients at Kaweah Delta since mid-July.

They will be leaving on Friday.
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