COVID-19 Delta Surge Overwhelms California’s Central Valley
The fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic has overloaded hospitals in California’s Central Valley, with officials scrambling to transfer some seriously ill patients more than 100 miles away because local intensive care units are filled.
According to a Los Angeles Times investigation, the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento area, and rural Northern California is now the regions of the state with the most COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita. Vaccination rates in these areas are lower than in the densely populated coastal areas of Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.
At a recent media briefing, Dan Lynch, who oversees emergency medical services for Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare counties said that “Our system is still paralyzed and is at a standstill, as we’re trying to move a huge number of patients through this healthcare system that is completely overwhelmed.”
It’s possible that the worst is yet to come. The number of ICU patients in the San Joaquin Valley is likely to rise well into September, according to COVID-19 computer models provided by the state Department of Public Health, and hundreds of more people could die by the end of the month.
Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s interim health officer said that “My heart just breaks looking at these projections. The projected deaths represent ‘kids that are going to have to go to their parents’ funerals.”
The number of monthly deaths from COVID19 in the San Joaquin Valley has tripled, from 93 in July to 311 in August. 78 more deaths were reported in the first six days of September alone. According to the state Department of Public Health, Valley still has an effective transmission rate of the coronavirus above 1, which means that for every person affected, the virus is transferred to slightly more than one other person, boosting the virus’s spread.
This is what we know so far