COVID-19 Surge Forces Ambulances to Have Wait Outside South Bay Hospitals

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Santa Clara County hospitals have been hit so hard with so many COVID-19 cases, ambulances have had to wait outside -- with patients -- for hours in some cases before those patients can be admitted. And those hospitals say they're expecting another, post New Year's surge.

“If we have another surge on top of that, it's going to be devastating,” said James Williams from Santa Clara County Council. "Sometimes that has occurred sporadically in the past, but this is happening at an increasing frequency, across the board, across all the hospitals."

The Regional Medical Center of San Jose has been especially busy.

"We make sure that everyone who is critical is seen and seen right away, but there are waits for some,” said Sarah Sherwood, Regional Medical Center spokesperson. Fearing that the post Christmas and New Year's rush is days away. 

"We're bracing for a huge onslaught of patients,” said Sherwood. “We're prepared for this, and we know how to deal with this, we're trained for this, but it is very difficult, our staff is tired."

Meanwhile, there is a triage system in place to do its best to divert an ambulance on its way to a hospital that's too crowded. Instead, sending that ambulance to a different hospital nearby that has a bed open. 

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