Bay Area hospitals are making changes to deal with an increase of COVID-19 patients.
The Valley Medical Center in San Jose announced it’s putting a pause on adult elective surgeries that require the patient to stay overnight.
The goal is to keep beds free for patients as COVID cases rise and hospitalizations tick upward.
Stanford is also delaying some elective surgeries.
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“They’re reviewing every patient case by case to see who could possibly be delayed, taking into effect their medical urgency, every patient’s own individualized condition,” said Dr. Sam Wald, anesthesiologist at Stanford Health Care.
In the South Bay, the number of ICU COVID patients has nearly doubled since Christmas. From 36 to 66, but still far fewer than the winter surge of 2020.
Dr. Paul Silka, the medical director at the Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department, said that during that surge, the hospital was nearly full – and they were seeing about 200 people a day.
But now, “Today we’re seeing 320, 350 patients, and yet a very small percentage in the big picture are getting admitted with severe COVID,” he said.
Silka added that even though a smaller percentage are being admitted, there are many more coming in.
“So we are starting to build up an in-patient cohort of sick COVID patients but it’s not as bad,” he said.
Doctors also say the vast majority of the hospitalized are unvaccinated, showing it’s still important to get one.
“You get vaccinated, you get boosted so that you don't end up in the hospital,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist. “You don't end up in a ventilator and you don't die of COVID.”
Multiple hospitals are also asking people to not go to the ER just to get tested if they don’t have any symptoms .