California hospitalizations soar, may encourage further restrictions – Newsom Governor warns


California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference in Sacramento, California

Rich Pedroncelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In California, hospital care could triple at Christmas and considering home orders in the highest case areas as it seeks to address concerns that serious coronavirus cases could overwhelm intensive care beds, officials said Monday.

“Red flags are flying in terms of the trajectory of growth forecasts,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “If these trends continue, we need to take much more dramatic, arguably more drastic steps.”

The number of hospitalizations has increased by 89% in the last 14 days, and nearly 7,800 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized since Monday. About 12% of positive California people are likely to need hospital care in the next two to three weeks.

The biggest concern is the intensive care cases, which have increased by 67% in the last two weeks. If this continues, it will raise ICU beds to 112% of capacity by mid-December.

These statistics are likely to execute state-ordered home orders out of 51 of California’s 58 counties, which already see the most restrictions on doing business, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services.

The rate of ICU hospital care varies by county and region, he said, and is of greater concern than overall hospital capacity.

“The point is to see the capacity of the intensive care unit as the primary trigger for deeper, more restrictive measures,” Ghaly said.

“When that capacity is gone, or even if it is so elongated that the staff is overstretched, we need to create a space that isn’t usually used for intensive care units, we know the quality of care … sometimes we dip in and deliver results we see things we don’t want to see, ”he said.

By the second half of December, California “may have restrictions in certain areas,” Ghaly said, adding that “we want to act sooner than this to reduce transmission and deal with possible high-intensity waves.”