The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring hospitals to accept transfer patients from overbooked Intensive Care Units (ICU) as the COVID-19 Delta variant surges in some parts of the state.
Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, state public health officer and director of CDPH, released the order, which will take effect beginning Aug. 18.
“California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic,” he said, as hospitalizations have increased over 700 percent in the last two months. There are currently 23.8 new cases per 100,000 people per day with case rates “increasing eleven-fold within two months.”
According to California’s COVID-19 dashboard, 9,748 positive cases were reported on Aug. 17 with 7,414 hospitalizations as of Aug. 16.
State hospitalization numbers are continuing to rise despite being at an all-time low since Jan. 2021 when the number of positive patients reached nearly 22,000.
As cases and hospitalizations continue to climb, hospitals prepare for a surge.
Terry Kanakri, Southern California Kaiser Permanente spokesperson told The Epoch Times the facilities have experienced a “significant increase in hospitalizations and ICU occupancy.”
“We continue to closely monitor the positivity rates in our communities … and have expanded capabilities to quickly increase space, supplies, and staffing,” Kanakri said.
Catherine Shitara, chief operating officer of Saddleback Medical Center in Mission Viejo told The Epoch Times that there’s been an increase in unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.
“Our ICU is still busy as we continue to see a significant increase in unvaccinated COVID patients and our hospital occupancy,” Shitara said. “The situation is fluid and changes by the hour, and we have implemented plans to ensure optimization of our beds and resources.”
The order on Aug. 16 followed an announcement that recommends a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals.