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'We're plateauing' | San Joaquin County Health officer sees glimmer of hope as Covid cases drop

As hospital space to treat severe COVID-19 patients in San Joaquin County remains grim, a health official said it's a good sign that cases are plateauing.

STOCKTON, Calif — As more and more patients overload ICU beds throughout the seven San Joaquin County hospitals, there is a ray of hope for a  San Joaquin County Public Health Officer.

Dr. Maggie Park, a San Joaquin County Public Health officer, told ABC10 that she is not sure this is a sign of the pandemic's end. 

"The fact that we're plateauing and not continually rising with our hospitalizations and ICU rates is a good thing," Park said.

Case in point, so far, the highest peak of cases in San Joaquin County happened on December 22 with 1,253 cases. On Wednesday, 320 cases were reported, nearly four times fewer in less than a month. There have been 14 deaths in the past 24 hours.

"But, as I said, it's plateauing at a point that's a little uncomfortable. We need to bring it down," Park said. "We're still finding cases from New Year's parties and gatherings, and we're still expecting that in the next couple of weeks, things that happened over New Year's will result in more hospitalizations in our ICU's."

Valuable hospital space to treat severe Covid-19 patients in San Joaquin County remains grim. At Lodi Memorial Hospital, for example, the ICU capacity stands at a staggering 190%.

In neighboring Stanislaus County, the numbers are just as sobering. In the past 24 hours, there were 493 Covid-19 cases, worse than San Joaquin County, along with 13 deaths. 

Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa said they need to see lower numbers in the hospitals.

"Please bear in mind that we're living through something really hard. But, we're going to get through it," Dr. Park said. What I would ask the public to do is please wait and when it's your turn to get the vaccine, please get it."  

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