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Coronavirus: Riverside County ICU beds reach 99% of capacity

Riverside ICU beds almost reached capacity on Sunday, when patients occupied 99% of the normal number of beds. The suspected and confirmed coronavirus patients account for about 35% of those beds, said Riverside spokesman Brooke Federico.

The shortage prompted a local congressman, a doctor, to ask for the county to act immediately.

“I ask the County to immediately revoke the decision to revoke the public health safety measures and to restore the order to wear masks in public and to communicate transparently their social estrangement and to stay at home with intervention plans and mechanisms of contrast, “said Raul Ruiz, (D-Palm Desert) said in an email.

Local health authorities said official bed capacity numbers paint a misleading picture.

Although Riverside County normally offers 385 beds in licensed ICUs, hospitals have already placed some patients with overflow in overload capacity beds. The extra beds are temporarily transferred for use in intensive care, with monitors, fans and IV pumps.

Michael Ditoro, chief operating officer at Desert Regional Medical Center, said the facility had achieved ICU bed capacity “well before COVID. Year after year. “The emergency rooms at the medical center are equally equipped to treat patients like normal ICU beds, he said.

Bed capacity may not be their biggest challenge, said Ditoro. Instead, it is scarce staff.

“You don̵

7;t really have a centralized area with the beds all around where it’s really fast to reach them. Instead, you may find yourself in a longer room where you need staff closer to each room,” said dive units.

Alan Williamson, vice president for medical affairs and medical director at Eisenhower Health, reiterated the concern.

In the most drastic scenario, Eisenhower Health could house 155 ICU patients. “But the question would be,” Are you able to gather enough nursing and auxiliary staff to manage 155 ICU beds? “” He said.

Hospital staff have created capacity increase plans since the coronavirus broke out in March, Williamson said. He added that Eisenhower Health has planned five stages of increasing capacity. He expects that at the peak of Riverside County coronavirus, the number of ICU patients in the hospital will double.

There are approximately 3,560 hospital beds licensed at the 17 hospitals in Riverside County, 37% of which remain available, said Federico. Hospitals have stated that many of these beds can be transformed for ICU use. However, Williamson said that only a few chambers are ideal for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, with negative pressure ventilation and clear glass walls.

Although the beds are scarce, many fans are unused. Of the 680 fans in Riverside County, 499 remain available.

In late May, over 60 Imperial County patients were transferred to Riverside County for treatment. Transfers have since decreased and the number of patients in the Imperial County has now been reduced to three, said Frederick.

“The state has sent a medical care team to set up medical stations in the Imperial County. We subsequently saw fewer transfers, “he said.” And now, our hospitals are not available to receive as many transfers. “

The coronavirus situation in Riverside County remains bleak. As of Monday, Riverside County has recorded a total of 16,634 cases, of which 991 reported since Friday. The number of infections doubles approximately every 27 days.

Riverside County remains on the “Targeted Commitment” state checklist for counties that do not fit the acceptable health metrics defined by the California Department of Public Health. To fall within acceptable metrics, the county should have more beds available in ICU, fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of less than 8%.

Although Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Sunday that seven counties would immediately close all bars and discos, Riverside County was not included in the order. State officials have suggested that local Riverside County officials have put in place a similar order.

Riverside County residents are bound by the Californian Newsom order of June 18 that all people wear masks in public or high-risk environments.

“Wearing masks and social distance are the most effective ways to reduce the spread of coronavirus. It will take at least two weeks to see the results of any action taken today, so these measures need to be implemented immediately. Any delay will only prolong the wave and cause many more people to become infected, get sick and probably die, “said Ruiz.

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