Greater Sacramento region’s ICU capacity dropped to 9.4% as of Jan. 13

Greater Sacramento region’s ICU capacity dropped to 9.4% as of Jan. 13

Davis mayor explains local ICU beds could fill up with patients from around the region 

As of Jan. 13, the Greater Sacramento region’s intensive care unit (ICU) capacity dropped to 9.4%, which could affect the number of ICU beds available in Davis and Yolo County in the future.

City of Davis Mayor Gloria Partida explained her concern for Davis regarding the number of hospitalized patients during this surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When a city or a county is out of beds, they will start sending people to the surrounding areas,” Partida said. “Even though we are doing a good job with our numbers, we will still be impacted by the surrounding areas.”

Sacramento County licensed clinical social worker Darina Kellom described that people must fight off pandemic fatigue in order to flatten the curve. 

“We’re all feeling the effects of pandemic fatigue,” Kellom said. “A lot of people are just emotionally, physically, mentally over it and they want to live a normal life, but I think we cannot do that unless we take this seriously.”

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the City of Davis and UC Davis worked collaboratively to create the Healthy Davis Together program. According to its official website, this program would “[…] facilitate a coordinated and gradual return to regular city activities and reintegration of UC Davis students back into the Davis community.”

Partida added why she thought it was especially important to test asymptomatic people frequently.

“I recently read a report that said half the infections are coming from asymptomatic people, and this is specifically what we are testing for with our Healthy Davis Together program,” Partida said. “There are a lot of people who are going around who think that they’re not sick because they don’t have any symptoms, but they’re able to infect other people.”

Public Relations and Media Relations specialist for Kaiser Permanente Northern California Chyresse Hill provided an official statement from Kaiser Permanente via email about the importance of adhering to safety guidelines. 

“We encourage everyone to protect themselves, their families and others by adhering to State and County orders, wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, practicing hand hygiene, avoiding crowds and monitoring yourself for any COVID-19 symptoms,” the statement reads. “Following these measures is crucial now to stop the rising tide of these infections.”

Kellom remarked on the necessity of the current safety measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“In the short-term, it may be hard and challenging for us because we all want to live normal lives, we all want to travel, we all want to go dine and celebrate and be with one another,” Kellom said. “In continuing and encouraging people to wear masks and socially distance—it’s going to protect us in the long term.” 

Kaiser Permanente’s statement further detailed their plans and priorities regarding COVID-19. 

“Our priority is the safety of our members, employees and the communities we serve,” the statement reads. “Like most health care providers, Kaiser Permanente is seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, significantly above our previous peak in June. We have maintained a continuous state of readiness for additional COVID-19 patients since our initial preparations in the Spring.”

Kellom described that at the hospital she works for, staff is continuing to do their best to provide for patients and families 

“On a day-to-day basis, we are trying our best to take care of the patients and their families and to support them,” Kellom said. “We’re just putting our heads down and working as hard and as best as we can.”

Kaiser Permanente’s statement further detailed their precautionary measures regarding California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

“Kaiser Permanente is contributing to California’s Roadmap for reopening the state which includes increased hospital capacity to address a surge of 35% above normal capacity, and we have the ability to increase our hospital bed capacity,” the statement reads. “Additionally, we have planned for an additional increase in staff above and beyond the normal winter season by securing travel nurses. We have planned for additional capacity for both ICU and Medical/Surgical needs.”

Kellom emphasized the importance of appreciating life as it is now in order to cope with the pandemic. 

“When I go to work, the patients that we see don’t get to see their family,” Kellom said. “We have a very closed visitor policy. This whole past year has really helped me recognize how important my family is—just being able to enjoy the simpler things in life like coming home and having dinner with your family.” 

Partida added a final note of encouragement regarding the vaccine and eventual return to normal. 

“I’m very hopeful with the vaccine being on the board now that we are going to be able to return to our normal lives—hopefully by the end of this year,” Partida said. “I know it’s been very difficult for people. It’s been very taxing, but I’m very proud of the work that people have done to take everyone’s health into consideration.” 

Written By: Jelena Lapuz city@theaggie.org