Hospitals now fuller than ever as tripledemic continues

Brittany Jacob Image
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Hospitals now fuller than ever as tripledemic continues
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Hospitals across the state are seeing a surge in patients, even Community Regional Medical Center's capacity is critically impacted.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hospitals across the state are seeing a surge in patients, even Community Regional Medical Center's capacity is critically impacted.

CRMC is the only level-one medical trauma center between LA and Sacramento, and the hospital has one of the nation's busiest emergency rooms.

With the 'tripledemic' of flu, RSV and COVID-19 cases, hospitals and workers are being stretched thin.

CRMC's Emergency Services Director Joseph Penn says CRMC is seeing 1,000 more patients this month compared to this time last year.

"We certainly are working hard - the nurses are working day after day, hour after hour just making sure that they are providing lifesaving care," Penn said

That's why generous donors have stepped up to help provide food to the exhausted staff.

On Wednesday, The Selling Family delivered meals to the frontline workers at CRMC.

They provided more than 2,000 meals from JaliScience food truck, over nine days to simply thank the staff in the ER and ICU.

Hospital staff is not immune from sicknesses-more than 200 employees called out sick last week and this week.

According to Fresno County EMS Director Dan Lynch, hospitals across the region are working at or above capacity which means they have more admitted patients than they have hospital beds.

"It's not just a Covid problem...Covid, the flu, RSV but also respiratory illness that we normally get at this time of the year," Lynch said.

Penn said if you go to the hospital with a medical emergency, you will be seen. "If you are experiencing an emergency- that would be like shortness of breath, chest pain those kinds of things. Those are true emergencies, Penn said.

If you go to the hospital with a non-emergency medical issue like a mild case of the flu or earache, you will wait several hours, the medical officials said.

Right now, the "assess-and-refer" policy is in place for ambulance crews in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties. This allows them to deny rides to ERs for anyone that is not a true emergency patient.

"That's why we are really encouraging people that they really need to check out an urgent care first or a clinic or their primary physician or even use telehealth through their insurance carrier," Lynch said.

Medical officials are closely watching to see what will happen with the flu in the new year, predicting 2023 will also be a challenge with the surges.

If you would like to donate or say "thank you" to these caregivers this holiday season, visit CRMC's website.