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Sacramento area hospitals brace for COVID-19 spike heading into the holidays

Both Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente officials said they are prepared for an uptick in hospitalizations as they're heading into the holidays.

SACRAMENTO, California — COVID-19 cases are spiking in the Golden State, resulting in many counties going back to more restrictive tiers and an imminent uptick in hospitalizations.

In Sacramento County, the number of hospitalizations due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases is currently at 385 cases, a 4.3% increase from the prior day, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard. There are 64 ICU beds available in Sacramento County, 14 fewer beds than the day before. These numbers are for Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020.

Officials for both Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente said they're anticipating more hospitalizations as they're heading further into the holidays and people migrate indoors. 

Here's what the two hospital systems are doing to prepare.

Dignity Health

A spokesperson for the hospital system said they have seen an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations across their six facilities in the Sacramento area.

"The increase in hospitalizations – while something we are concerned about and continue to monitor – is currently not straining our care facilities. We have the resources, equipment and staffing in place to address current volumes and any additional increases," Yessenia Anderson, external communications manager for Dignity Health, said.

Anderson said their health care providers "better understand the disease now, how to treat it, and how to plan for a possible surge."

"Our hospitals... been caring for our community throughout the pandemic, and through the collective expertise and experience across our system," Anderson said.

Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Michael Vollmer, infectious disease specialist and regional epidemiologist for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said the health care provider is seeing an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19.    

"We are contributing to California’s Roadmap for reopening the state which includes increased hospital capacity to address a surge of 35% above normal capacity. As a result, Kaiser Permanente facilities and staff are managing the current growth in hospitalized cases, expertly treating patients with the virus while safely caring for patients with other conditions as well," Vollmer said. 

Vollmer said the hospital system has made several changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include mask requirements, enhanced cleaning and disinfectant procedures and social distancing. KP also separates COVID-19 patients from other patients and procedures in our medical centers so all can safely receive care.  

Vollmer said as the science regarding COVID-19 care has evolved, KP has modified its practices to improve outcomes which can translate into a reduced length of stay. 

"These interventions include using high flow oxygen, dexamethasone for patients requiring high levels of oxygen, remdesivir based on current national guidance, and proning techniques if a patient requires mechanical ventilation," Vollmer said. "We also have a COVID-19 monitoring program where patients receive follow up at home based on their risk level without necessarily requiring hospitalization." 


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