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Coronavirus

Ventura County ICU capacity now 1.4% as COVID-19 cases grow

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - Ventura County Public Health experts say almost all of of the county's ICU beds are full. On Monday, the county reported it had only 1.4% of its ICU beds available. 204 people are hospitalized, including 49 in the ICU.

Ventura County reported 2,651 new cases over the weekend.

An ICU doctor at Ventura County Medical Center said county hospitals are struggling. Dr. Mark Lepore from Ventura County Medical Center said about 12 percent of people that are diagnosed with COVID will end up hospitalized and about 1-2% will be admitted to the ICU or will die.

"We are all hitting capacity and we are all going to exceed capacity," Lepore said. "What exceeding capacity looks like is showing up to the hospital and not having a room to go to or not having a staff member to take care of you. This is beyond the point that we can expect a guarantee that you're going to have a bed if you get COVID."

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said one out of every ten COVID tests in the county is coming back positive.

Levin said the county has received reports of groups gathering, which could lead to higher case numbers.

"The weekend before this last weekend, there were some 80 football players gathered in a park in Simi. There were tournaments in other counties, in other states, with volleyball players and baseball players. In both of those situations people were not wearing masks," Levin said. "In the Thousand Oaks mall yesterday, there was a report of hundreds of people gathering to sing Christmas songs together, again, many without masks, " Levin said.

He said some people in the county are having large parties, some with hundreds of people, which is contributing to the spread of the virus. He's also concerned about a few churches that are continuing to hold indoor services with people sitting shoulder to shoulder without masks.

COVID-19 testing in Ventura County

Barry Zimmerman, chief deputy director of the county's Health Care Agency said testing supplies are running out because of the high demand. He also said people should expect test result times to go up.

He said the priority for testing is for those who have symptoms or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Everybody else should follow isolation guidelines.

Testing sites at Oxnard and Moorpark colleges closed because testing supplies ran out Monday. Earlier in the day, the wait for testing at Moorpark College reached 2.5 hours.

The latest hours for each test site will be updated through the county's social media accounts and at www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

You can watch Monday's press conference here.

Ventura County
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Bryce Hanamoto

Bryce Hanamoto is a producer and digital journalist for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Bryce, click here.

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