Some hospitals in Central California are still so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients that some critically ill people are waiting days to be transferred into the intensive care unit from the emergency room, officials said.
One Fresno area hospital had nine critically ill patients who were unable to get into the intensive care unit for more than three days, interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra said at a news conference this week. This forces emergency room staff to treat patients needing ICU care, disrupting the healthcare of other patients with less severe illness.
“We’re basically really straining what the emergency department has to do,” Vohra said. “We still anticipate at least a few more weeks of thoroughly impacted operations” in ICUs and emergency rooms.
Hospitals in Fresno County are teetering on the need to ration healthcare and implement “crisis standards of care,” Vohra said. In these situations, hospitals conclude that they can no longer provide the same standard of healthcare to everyone, and must choose whose lives to prioritize to keep as many patients alive as possible.