Napa County reaches ICU capacity as U.S. reaches single-day record of 1 million COVID cases

Health officials in Napa County on Monday said they have reached the maximum number allowed for intensive care patients on the same day that the United States reported a record single-day number of daily COVID cases, with more than one million new infections.

But the chief medical officer says that does not mean hospitals have to turn away new ICU patients.

However, the hospital staffing has to be readjusted if more  intensive care patients are allowed in.

Napa County says it has a lower ICU capacity now than it did at the start of last year.

The state granted Napa County a waiver to the usual requirement that ICU nurses can only care for two patients at a time. 

Meanwhile, a total of 1,082,549 new coronavirus cases were reported Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as the highly infectious omicron variant continues to spread throughout the country.

Across the U.S., new COVID-19 cases have tripled in the past two weeks to over 400,000 a day, the highest level on record, amid a rush by many Americans to get tested.

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In California, San Francisco now has the third-highest coronavirus transmission rate in California, with a daily average case rate of about 104 per 100,000 residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

San Francisco’s transmission rate ranks in California behind only Los Angeles County, with 118 cases per 100,000 residents — the highest reported there since the start of the pandemic — and Mono County with 109 per 100,000.

Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?

A couple of factors are at play, starting with the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant. Omicron is more likely to infect people, even if it doesn’t make them very sick, and its surge coincided with the holiday travel season in many places.

People might mistakenly think the COVID-19 vaccines will completely block infection, but the shots are mainly designed to prevent severe illness, says Louis Mansky, a virus researcher at the University of Minnesota.

And the vaccines are still doing their job on that front, particularly for people who’ve gotten boosters.

Meanwhile, the demand to get tested is surging, as people are returning to work and school following the holiday break. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.