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COVID: ICU Beds In San Joaquin Valley Dwindle; CDPH Implements Surge Protocols

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – The California Department of Public Health announced Friday that the San Joaquin Valley region is entering hospital surge protocols as the number of available ICU beds has dwindled due to COVID-19 cases.

CDPH said the order was triggered after the region's availability of staffed adult ICU beds dropped below 10% for three consecutive days. It is the first region in the state to enter surge protocols following a public health order issued last month.

Counties impacted by the order include Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne.

For the next seven days, general acute care hospitals in the region that have ICU bed capacity must accept transfer patients when clinically appropriate and directed by emergency officials. If there is no ICU bed capacity in the region, all general acute care hospitals within California would be asked to accept transfer patients.

"The state has learned from previous increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that coordination at the local, regional, and statewide level is the best course of action," CDPH officials said in a statement. "This action will ensure the state's health care delivery system is prepared and can respond appropriately."

As of Friday, CDPH data shows the available adult ICU beds in the San Joaquin Valley region has dipped to 8.6%. Among those in ICU, 54.2% are COVID-19 positive.

Meanwhile in the Bay Area, ICU bed availability is at 20.6%, with 28.6% testing positive for COVID-19.

As of Friday, the state's 7-day positivity rate is at 4.9%. The vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated, who have COVID-19 case rates that are a whopping 571% higher than those who have received the vaccine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 81% of eligible Calfornians have received at least one dose of vaccine.

CDPH said the region would be reevaluated next Thursday.

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