The Guardian’s Vivian Ho reports:
California’s early and stringent shelter-in-place orders have flattened the curve, but the state is still on track to run out of hospital beds in May, state officials said Wednesday.
State projections predict that even if Californians continue to follow the governor’s strict social distancing and stay-at-home protocols, the state will have about 60,000 covid-related hospitalizations by mid-May — more than the 50,000 beds that Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, is seeking to add to the state’s capacity.
“Even in this scenario, which is not the best case scenario, if we do what we’re doing today, we do cross this line,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary. “Our effort is to move it as far to the right as possible so we can ensure that we have the capacity in our health care delivery system, not just in hospital beds, but in ICU beds and ventilators.”
As of Wednesday, 774 Californians were in intensive care beds, a number of that Newsom acknowledged may seem modest when compared to numbers in other parts of the country. But the number was “roughly a quadrupling of where we were six days ago,” he said. Total hospitalizations — 1,855 — was “roughly a tripling of where we were just six days ago.”
“That gives you a sense of the nature of the spread and the nature of the attack of this virus and the nature of our focus as it relates to preparing for this surge,” Newsom said. “We’re preparing for a two-thirds increase in our hospital bed capacity in this state. We are preparing to meet that not just in the physical needs in the system, but making sure we have the appropriate protective gear, the ventilators, and personnel.”
There have been 8,769 positive cases in California and 186 deaths total, according to Sonoma County officials tracking the data.