As the COVID-19 crisis hits a boiling point in Southern California, medical experts in the Bay Area are watching and holding their breath.
“What goes on badly in Southern California will eventually get here and we may need their help one day,” said UCSF Professor of Epidemiology Dr. George Rutherford.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on Tuesday asked for federal help.
The state needs 500 medical personnel to be deployed into skilled nursing homes and hospitals where a surge is taking place down south.
ICU capacity in San Joaquin Valley and Southern California are at zero capacity.
The USNS Mercy Hospital would be called into service in a situation like this to create beds for patients sick with the deadly coronavirus, but right now it’s under mandatory maintenance and unavailable.
Rutherford says help is coming from all over the state.
“The national guard which has membership from Northern California and Southern California is an obvious thing to be deployed and already happened,” he said. “There’s active duty service personnel that we can put into play.”
The chief medical officer at Marin Health Medical Center is watching Southern California closely. Bay Area hospitals from Sonoma to Monterey County are at 5.9% capacity. The number is not great but she remains optimistic.
“Based on the forecast model that the county has shared with us that we won’t approach anything as dire as Los Angeles but I don’t have a crystal ball so I’m crossing my fingers and we’re constantly reviewing our resources,” said Karin Shavelson.
Resources remain steady in the Bay Area, but things could change quickly with a post holiday surge possibly coming in the next week or so.