COVID-19-related hospitalizations increase in San Diego County

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 20:26:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 continue to increase across San Diego County.
The county’s latest numbers show 458 patients hospitalized, while 178 are in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It is not quite what we’re seeing in Florida and Houston, but we are seeing an increase for sure,” said Dr. Julie Phillips, the medical director of Sharp Grossmont’s Emergency Department.

“Almost every ER in the county has their tents set up, and they never took them down despite us not needing to utilize it for a number of weeks, if not even about six weeks, then starting last week it is back in use,” said Phillips.

Currently, Sharp Grossmont has 27 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, while Sharp Chula Vista has 44, and Sharp Memorial has 29.

Phillips said most local hospitals are well equipped to handle the surge.

“All of us have staffed up beds by 150 percent awaiting for this,” she explained. “We know a lot more; we feel better about knowing how it’s transmitted, we feel better about our PPE, especially our N95 masks. Flattening the curve gave us time to get what we needed ready to go, so now we’re ready.”

On Friday, Scripps Health reached a single-day all-time high number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
At its five locations, a total of 126 people were hospitalized. Earlier that week, the number was still in the 90s.

Both Scripps Mercy in San Diego and Chula Vista had 38 patients hospitalized at each facility.

The numbers were the highest for a single day since the pandemic began.
Infectious disease specialist for UCSD Health, Dr. David Pride, tells 10News UCSD’s hospital system is also seeing an increase.

“Going back to early June, we admit between 1 and 6 new patients per day. The rolling average is a bit higher the last couple of weeks,” said Pride via email. “We are operating near our capacity, but largely because we accept outside hospital transfers readily who need a higher level of care than their hospitals can provide. We still maintain surge capabilities, so we could admit many more patients should the situation get more dire.”

A spokesperson for Palomar Health said they had seen an increase in patients in the last couple of weeks, but still have plenty of capacity.

Kaiser Permanente has also seen a recent rise in COVID-19 related hospitalizations.
The following statement was sent to 10News.

“Consistent with other San Diego County hospitals, Kaiser Permanente has seen a recent rise in COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Most notably, we are seeing an increase in a younger, less acute population. We remain confident in our ability to provide care to all our members and are grateful to the San Diego community for continuing to practice social distancing and wearing a facial covering when outside of their homes.”

As the Fourth of July gets closer, Phillips wants to remind people it is crucial not to let your guard down, and to continue taking safety precautions is they do choose to gather with friends or extended family.

“I understand people are tired of it, but we’re not over it,” she said. “You have to take precautions, you must wear a face mask, you need to social distance, and you need to wash your hands.”