CA hospitals prepare for COVID-19 surge as cases tick up

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that California is taking action and is prepared to meet the growing demand for hospital care as coronavirus cases continue to surge statewide. 

Newsom said he had a recent conversation with Vice President Mike Pence and that 190 individuals will be coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help relieve stress for California's doctors and nurses. 

Newsom said the state has the capacity to treat 50,000 COVID-19 patients, citing California has built altercate care sites and has established a new hospital capacity. 

The governor said the state has also expanded its medical staff capacity including 741 health corp individuals who have been deployed to work at skilled nursing, corrections and other facilities.

Carmela Coyle with the California Hospital Association said the state hospitals are and continue to be ready to deal with the coronavirus crisis. 

Coyle said the state is adjusting plans to prepare differently as case numbers start to climb again. This includes building up PPE, ramping up available testing supplies, and cross-training medical staff.

"We’re going to surge differently this time. We have learned a lot in the last four months," she said. 

Hospitals are working together to balance the load of COVID-19 patients. This has been done in Imperial County and in the San Francisco Bay Area to help deal with virus outbreaks within its prison system.  

Newsom said there has been a 44% increase in hospitalizations over a two-week period and that ICU admissions are up 34%. 

“Every decimal point is a point of concern,” he said. 

Three more counties have been placed on the state’s monitoring list: Napa, San Benito and Yolo. Local officials are required to issue additional guidelines to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. 

"This moment will pass, we will get through this…the question is when and that is determined on how we conduct ourselves, how we behave," he said. 

During this week's briefings, the governor repeatedly asked Californians to continue wearing masks while in public and to physically social distance. 

Newsom also said the state's COVID-19 watch list has been updated with three new counties added to the list: Napa, San Benito, and Yolo counties.

Contra Costa, Marin, and Solano counties all remain on the watch list. Santa Clara was previously listed but later removed.