COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise in San Diego County

Posted at 5:19 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 20:19:02-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — COVID-19 related hospitalizations are on the rise in San Diego County and some healthcare workers are worried we will continue to see a significant increase over the next several weeks to months.

“We’re actually seeing significant increases,” said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps Health Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Excellence and Experience. “We’re actually higher than we were back in July. Yesterday alone the numbers we got from the county we had 532 hospitalizations across the region.”

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county is now 75,305. According to county data, 4,470 of all COVID-19 cases have required hospitalization, and 1,006 had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Sharieff said Wednesday at Scripps campuses, more than 100 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

“We had 117 cases that is with 16 discharges, so if we weren’t able to send home those patients yesterday, we would be at our peak level in July,” she said.

She said the concern is growing from those in the medical field, not only after local Halloween parties locally, but as we enter Thanksgiving and the next several holidays.

She expects the numbers to continue climbing into early 2021.

“What we’re seeing now is what we have predicted,” she said. “We do worry that two or three weeks out from now that we’re going to see the number increase as well.

New Year’s Eve is December 31st; if you calculate just exactly what we’re seeing now, people start getting sick in that first two weeks, because the incubation period is two to fourteen days after exposure, then they get really sick and hospitalized, and then the intensive care unit comes, so I’m very worried.”

Like many healthcare systems, she says Scripps is seeing a surge in hospitalizations countywide, but even more in the South Bay, where Covid-19 has hit the community hard.

Scripps has a detailed plan in place and has managed to balance hospital capacity by transferring patients to different hospitals to not overwhelm a specific location.

“Every day, between 4 to 5 patients are getting transferred out of the Chula Vista campus,” she said. “Yesterday we had five transfers, this morning we had two from Chula Vista to Green, and two from Mercy Chula Vista to La Jolla. We don’t want all of the strain to go on our staff in one place when we have capability elsewhere.”

“It’s really hard on the healthcare providers when we’re out there trying to save lives, and we see people taking risks like they don’t have to take right now,” she said. “It’s a punch in the gut every time.”

Sharieff said the hospitals are well equipped with PPE this time around, but while many people may be letting their guards down and gathering this Thanksgiving, she’s reminding everyone that this pandemic isn’t over and will get worse if we don’t act now.

“Just one thing that you do can impact so many lives afterward,” she said.