Tags: Coronavirus | california hospitals | empty hospitals

Doctors: Empty California Bay Area Hospitals Have Become 'Deserts'

a temporary hospital setting is shown with rows and rows of empty beds
A temporary hospital was set up by the California National Guard in Indio, California on March 29, 2020.  The new field hospital with 125 beds was to help ease the burden on the local hospital system amid the growing COVID-19 Coronavirus crises. Now, local hospitals are not seeing many patients. (Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 April 2020 01:31 PM

California’s Bay Area hospitals haven’t seen a surge of coronavirus patients, which is leaving emergency rooms void of patients.

Doctors and nurses told The Mercury News hospitals have become deserts.

The newspaper reports emergency visits have declined by more than half at Kaiser and Stanford. Santa Clara County’s three public hospitals have seen just 35 percent of their typical daily ER traffic. Health care systems across the region have reported a drop in patients.

“It’s kind of creepy, actually,” Andra Blomkalns, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford, told The Mercury News,“particularly when we spent so much time really gearing up for this surge and all this flurry of activity and mental activity and supplies and things — and now it’s sort of like, ‘OK, what do we do now?’ ”

In the Bay Area and California, the number of coronavirus patients appears to have peaked near the end of the first week of April before continuing to trend lower. The number of hospitalizations hasn’t come near what was anticipated. California put lockdown measures in place early on in the pandemic. 

With doctors and beds available, some hospitals have started scheduling surgeries and tests that were postponed to deal with the expected surge of coronavirus patients. 

“That surge (of coronavirus cases) so far has not reached the level we had feared, so we are scheduling higher-priority surgeries for our oncology, neurology and cardiology patients,” UC San Francisco spokeswoman Suzanne Leigh told The Mercury News. 

Doctors are concerned their hospitals are empty because people are taking stay-at-home orders too strictly.

Russell Rodriguez, director of emergency medicine for John Muir Health, told the newspaper he has seen patients with chest pain, appendicitis, severe back pain and other pressing medical issues wait to come to the emergency room.

“We do not want patients to delay necessary care and come to us when a situation that could have been addressed earlier is now a much more complicated or debilitating injury or illness,” Rodriguez said. “We can safely care for any patient right now.”

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California’s Bay Area hospitals haven’t seen a surge of coronavirus patients, which is leaving emergency rooms void of patients.
california hospitals, empty hospitals
Wednesday, 22 April 2020 01:31 PM
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