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'Not enough staff' | San Joaquin County hospitals bulging with coronavirus patients

ICU's are beyond capacity in San Joaquin County

STOCKTON, Calif. — As the coronavirus pandemic continues with no end in sight, hospitals in the Central Valley continue to become crowded with patients.

In Stanislaus County, intensive care units are at 78% of capacity, and total hospital bed space taken stands at 66%.

But in San Joaquin County, it's worse. ICU's are at 132% of capacity, and total hospital bed space in use stands at 76%.

"In San Joaquin, our challenges are we had beds and space, but not enough staff. There is an example where a Department of Defense staff team was brought in to aid and assist to allow us to care for more patients," said Carmela Coyle, CEO & President of the California Hospital Association.

She said the busiest of the seven hospitals in San Joaquin County by far is St. Joseph's Medical Center near Downtown Stockton.

It has 98 coronavirus cases. It was followed by Lodi Memorial with 43 cases.

There have been 88 outbreaks in multiple San Joaquin County locations attributed to restaurants, bars, skilled nursing facilities, medical settings, workplace sites and more.

Personal protective gear also remains in short supply.

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"We're still in places where we are having to ration the PPE that is available. We would like to be able to provide PPE to many, many more," said Coyle.

But, there is hope about a month out that hospitals may see a downward trend in the grim numbers.

Earlier state projections of 335 patient cases in San Joaquin County now show a decrease to just above 250 by August 19th.

Deaths earlier projected at 263, now estimated at 174 by around the middle of August.

"I really want to believe this. I'm hoping that everything we've been doing to message the public has made some changes," said Dr. Maggie Park, Health Officer for San Joaquin County, speaking before the county board of supervisors Tuesday.

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WATCH ALSO: San Joaquin County coronavirus cases up 30 percent