Kaweah Delta Medical Center at 90% capacity, treating more young people, CEO says

Officials ask the community to avoid using the Emergency Room for COVID-19 testing because their testing supplies are low.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With coronavirus numbers on the rise in Central California, Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia said it is caring for 81 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday.

It's the largest number of coronavirus patients the hospital has cared for to date.

Thirty-seven of the patients are in critical care in the hospital Intensive Care Unit or its step-down ICU. Thirteen of those patients are on ventilators.

The medical center's occupancy is currently at 90%. As of Thursday, 297 of the 330 adult beds were occupied, leaving 33 beds available for new patients.

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The Visalia hospital said it's continuing to work on staffing solutions. It's training all registered nurses on staff, so they are prepared to serve at the bedside of COVID-19 patients when needed.

Kaweah Delta's CEO, Gary Herbst, said the COVID-19 positive patients who have died at the hospital since the inception of the pandemic all had underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, or chronic heart failure.

With the influx of positive cases, the hospital is also treating more young people.

"We are seeing more, younger people hospitalized, but that also can correlate to the higher percentage of young people contracting the virus. They tend to be more active socially and putting themselves in greater exposure," Herbst said.

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Herbst is asking the community to avoid using the Emergency Room for COVID-19 testing because their testing supplies are low.

Those seeking testing should call their physician or call Kaweah Delta's free COVID-19 hotline at 559-624-4110

You can also call 211 or check out the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency website for COVID-19 testing sites in your area.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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