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Stanislaus County Hospitals Nearing Capacity Due To Operating Constraints

STANISLAUS COUNTY (CSB13) — Stanislaus County leaders are sending out the alert that their hospitals are stretched to capacity right now.

As coronavirus cases increase, hospitals are now working to get more beds available. The capacity concerns surprised county supervisors Thursday since the Stanislaus County Public Health dashboard figures show 40% of hospital beds are still available.

It turns out the physical beds are here, but staffing to take care of a surge in patients is a problem.

"I think we need to take a better look at this and be more concerned," Supervisor Terry Withrow said.

Withrow says hospital CEOs revealed to supervisors Thursday low staffing and operational issues at hospitals would not allow every bed to be used right now.

"And so people were laid off, so now all of a sudden we're asking them to ramp back up, as these hospitalizations increase," Withrow said.

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Withrow would not give an exact number of beds to show how close to capacity the county is. He said the numbers are fluid.

"It's not panic time, but it's definitely concerning," Withrow said.

Stanislaus County is one of many California counties seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, reporting 121 hospitalized cases in the past day — its highest daily number yet.

The county purchased 110 new beds to be placed at the old Scenic Hospital at the outset of the pandemic. That could add a sixth hospital to the county system. So far it has not been activated.

"We thought we had some time and depending on how the increase in hospitalizations happen we'd be fine, we thought," Withrow said. "But now we need to be a little more alert."

A new look at this coronavirus crisis in Stanislaus County. Just when supervisors thought they were covered, a surprise- forcing them to think again.

"If this curve were to continue on one of these models that it shows, we could get to a point where we exceed our capacity," Withrow said.

Supervisor Withrow said in a worst-case scenario, Stanislaus County hospitals could send non-COVID patients out of the county to make room for new COVID patients.

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