Hospitals Keep Watchful Eye on Bed Space, Staffing Amid COVID-19 Surge

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As daily records for new COVID-19 cases continue to get set, hospitals across California continue to see a slow and steady rise in patients – and they’re starting to feel the pressure.

At Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, changes are underway to handle the growing numbers.

"We’ve seen probably about a doubling of the admissions for COVID since the new year began," Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Clifford Wang said. “Less severe symptoms. We’re finding that patients are staying for shorter periods of time and we have less ICU cases as well."

Despite those encouraging signs, the percentage of available beds is hovering at only around 10 to 20%. As a result, tough decisions had to be made.

"We have postponed elective surgery procedures for patients needing an adult in-patient bed," Wang said.

Staffing is also being monitored carefully. At this point, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is choosing not to follow the state recommendation to allow COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic nurses to return to work.

"Some individuals have to take additional shifts and that’s just sometimes more taxing," Wang said.

Wang said everyone at the hospital is hoping that the holiday surge will pass in the next few weeks and that no new strong variant shows up.

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