The number of available intensive care unit beds in Santa Clara County remained dangerously low Wednesday as the ICUs at two more hospitals reached capacity.

There are just 31 ICU beds available in a county that serves 2 million people. Meanwhile, O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy joined Regional Medical Center in San Jose in no longer having any ICU beds available.

“This is absolutely the worst we have seen by an order of magnitude. We are in a much worse state right now than we were in the summer or the spring,” Dr. Ahmad Kamal, Santa Clara County Director of Healthcare Preparedness, said.

Kamal warned that the county may see 100 new COVID-19 patients a day heading into hospitals over the next few days, straining their resources.

Regional Medical Center reached capacity Tuesday with 70 COVID-19 patients. The ICU, emergency department beds and the hospital’s entire COVID-19 floor are full. The emergency room remains open. The hospital has brought in more staff, postponed elective surgeries and taken other steps to handle the surge.

“We have tried to transfer some patients out, but we’re doing that on a selective basis,” Dr. Paul Silka said.

The ICU beds at O’Connor Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital are also full as health care workers respond to what doctors are calling the Thanksgiving surge.

An estimated 10-12% of all patients with COVID-19 end up in the hospital, which is why the county is working on contingency plans.

“Which is bringing additional beds into service, trying to make ICU beds in their facility by adding equipment to existing beds,” Kamal said.

Kamal said they’re also considering setting up a regional center for overflow and transferring some patients to hospitals in other counties.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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