Bay Area hospitals prepare for 4th COVID surge as cases projected to peak in few weeks

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Bay Area hospitals prepare for 4th COVID surge
COVID cases across the country and in the Bay Area are starting to have a major impact on hospitals.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- COVID cases across the country and in the Bay Area are starting to have a major impact on hospitals.

The Bay Area's daily COVID case count is now the same as it was during last summer's surge. Hospitalizations are also on the rise.

"A month ago we had eight COVID positive patients in our hospital, and now we're at 43," who are mostly unvaccinated, according to Tosan Boyo, the SVP of hospital operations at John Muir Health.

RELATED: Spiking Bay Area COVID hospitalizations 'almost exclusively' among unvaccinated, experts say

He says the John Muir hospitals in Concord and Walnut Creek have had to add back more COVID rooms this summer. "Now with the fourth surge coming back on board, we are looking at PPE again, looking at ICU metrics again," he continued, "and it's constantly on every single staffs' mind right now."

"We are tired, we still show up," said ER doctor, Erica Carney, who is also Kansas City health official.

Missouri has some of the highest COVID transmission rates in the country. As a result, Dr. Carney's hospital is full, with less than 5% adult staffed ICU bed capacity

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"I just took care of a 30-year-old who died, it was his second encounter with COVID," said Dr. Carney.

Dr. Carney says she encouraged him to get a COVID vaccine a month ago, but he refused. "The next time I saw him, he had died and so had his mother. His brother asked that we share the message, he said from here on out I will be getting the vaccine."

RELATED: SoCal man, 34, who mocked vaccines dies of COVID-19

A Southern California man in his 30s who openly mocked vaccines in social media posts has died after a hospitalization for COVID-19.

Right now, there are 16 COVID patients at San Francisco General Hospital right - a fifth of the winter hospitalization peak, which was 86 patients. But chief of emergency medicine, Dr. Chris Colwell, says it's the rate of increasing infections that concerns him. "It looks very much to be another significant surge, every bit to the extent we saw back in January."

Dr. Colwell says they are making plans to adjust their hospital operations to accommodate the growing surge, which he thinks could peak in mid-August. "We are looking at opening up our additional COVID ward, which we have not had open since the winter."

Kate Larsen: "Some people might see this story, and think what's happening in Missouri or other parts of the country can't happen here because our vaccine rates are so much higher."

Dr. Chris Colwell: "We are in a much better position than many parts of the country, that is true. But I think we're kidding ourselves if we think that can not happen here."

Dr. Colwell says it's all preventable - with the vaccine.

CDC COVID-19 Transmission Levels by U.S. County

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