SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Decreasing ICU capacity continues to be a big concern across the state and the Bay Area.
Recent numbers have been alarming — and doctors project it’s going to get worse over the next few weeks.
Currently, it might not seem like the Bay Area is doing as bad as other areas in the state in terms of ICU capacity — but health experts say we should not be fooled.
If one area is getting overwhelmed — resources from here can be used to help out..that includes pulling from already stretched resources such as staffing, equipment and ICU beds.
We’re not exactly there yet but the Bay Area is trending towards a devastating point in terms of ICU bed capacity.
At just above 17% the region is expected to drop even further in the next few weeks.
“We never had to think about ICU bed capacity as a metric before and that’s kind of very concerning,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.
UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist and Professor Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says extremely low ICU capacity in other parts of the state can effect the Bay Area as well.
The resources here can get pulled to help those in worse positions.
As the rates continue to trend negatively statewide — it will lead to tougher decisions within intensive care units.
“When you start flooding the hospital with more patients than the hospital can take care of, death rates rise,” Dr. Chin-Hong said. “Not because we don’t have state of the art medicine, mainly because you can’t just take care of everyone even if you’re the best hospital around.”
Staffing at some hospitals is also becoming an alarming issue.
One reason is frontline health care workers getting infected with the virus creating an even shorter supply of trained professionals.
Dr. Chin-Hong warns if infection rates do not slow– the state and the region is looking at a grim forecast.
“The fact that we have to think about ICU bed capacity suggests that we’re in pretty tough times,” he said. “The next thing after that we’ll be thinking about deaths which I hope we don’t get to.”
Dr. Chin-Hong went on to say that at our current infection rate Bay Area hospitals are projected to exceed ICU bed capacity in about two weeks.
He hopes we can all band together to help stop COVID from spreading.