UC Davis cases peak as UC Davis Medical Center and quarantine housing brace for more

UC Davis cases peak as UC Davis Medical Center and quarantine housing brace for more

Photo Credits: The Student Health & Wellness Center at UC Davis during Winter Quarter 2020. (Quinn Spooner / Aggie)

The university’s health center boasts flexibility in the face of many new cases, Primero Grove facility is currently well under capacity

UC Davis cases have peaked to the highest they have been since the beginning of the pandemic, but the UC Davis Medical Center remains adaptable and student quarantine housing is managing well thus far, according to experts. 

UC Davis Medical Center does not define their intensive care unit (ICU) capacity by a set amount of beds since the center can increase the capacity if need be according to UC Davis Health’s Senior Public Information Officer Charles Casey. This makes it difficult to give an exact number of beds available in the ICU, as the number can be adjusted.

“Our ICU functions like an accordion, and can be expanded, when needed, by converting medical/surgical bed spaces into ICU space,” Casey said via email. “The available capacity for our ICUs is always a small percentage—because if we don’t need the space for ICUs, we convert the bed space for other patient uses.”

There are currently 37 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Yolo County. The City of Davis in particular has had a total of 1,205 cases since the beginning of the pandemic with the vast majority of cases college-aged, according to the Yolo County COVID-19 dashboard

Lilly Soto, a third-year design major, is staying at the UC Davis quarantine dorms at Primero Grove after returning from a trip back home for the holidays where she was exposed.

“I wasn’t necessarily scared,” Soto said. “It was just frustrating because it’s like ‘Oh, that’s why we weren’t supposed to go home.’” 

There are not many other students residing in Primero Grove at the moment. UC Davis is using only 2% of it’s 400 beds designated for quarantine housing, but Soto said she expects that will change.  

“I bet it will be full like next week or something, when people come back,” Soto said. “I’ve seen one other person get their food delivered across the courtyard and another person distance talking to someone. I’ve only seen two other people here.”

There has been an uptick in cases as students returned from the winter break. Of the 22 cases reported on Jan. 2, 19 were asymptomatic and three were self-reported.

UC Davis has seen 43 new cases in the last seven days between self-reported, asymptomatic and SHWC testing, which consists of any other COVID testing completed on campus according to the university’s dashboard

Soto said that each student at Primero Grove has their own kitchen and their own bathroom, with meals delivered three times a day and students are tested twice in a 10 day period. 

“My first one came back negative, which is really good and I think helped put my roommates at ease,” Soto said.  

Casey said that UC Davis Health expects to be ready when the cases do rise. 

“As a Level 1 trauma center and tertiary care hospital, the UC Davis Medical Center ICU is usually quite busy — even without a pandemic,” Casey said. “Our experience handling incidents with large numbers of patients has prepared us well to respond to COVID-19 surges.”

Over half of the cases at the university have been within the last 30 days and the expectation is that numbers will continue to rise.

“UC Davis Medical Center is very fortunate that Sacramento and Northern California have not been as hard-hit as areas such as L.A. and San Joaquin County,” Casey said. “However, our region is continuing to see high COVID-19 positivity rates and high levels of the virus spread in our community, too.”
Written by: Kathleen Quinn — campus@theaggie.org

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