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Surge plans go into effect at Ventura County Medical Center

VENTURA, Calif. - Ventura County is running low on hospital beds as COVID-19 cases keep increasing.

“We are certainly seeing a surge right now,” said Dr. John Fankhauser, CEO at Ventura County Medical Center.

He says COVID-19 case numbers in Ventura County climb everyday.

“Early on when people want to open things up and people were interested in loosening the restrictions, over and over again I heard them say our hospitals are empty,” said Fankhauser. “And now we are the opposite. Our hospitals are very full.”

Public Health said as of Monday there were nearly 90 coronavirus patients hospitalized, including 30 in the intensive care unit, leaving just 24 ICU beds available across the county. At Ventura County Medical Center there are no ICU beds, so the hospital's surge plan is now taking effect.

“We have some ICU overflow into the emergency room which is not unusual, but now we have exceeded that capacity,” said Fankhauser. “We have this afternoon to make our plans to moving ICU patients into another wing in the hospital.”

Every hospital has its own surge plan. Some include reopening areas of the hospital that were previously closed. Staffing is another issue, which VCMC is working on.

“It may be true that you do not know anyone who has had COVID but I can tell you here at VCMC and every hospital in the county there is many COVID patients who are very sick,” said Dr. Fankhauser.

But Dr. Fankhouaser doesn't expect the numbers to drop anytime soon.

“I have seen gatherings, celebrations and of course the Fourth of July this weekend and I would anticipate seeing continue increase numbers until there is a significant change in our social habits,” said Dr. Fankhauser.

Coronavirus / Health / Ventura County

Senerey de los Santos

Senerey de los Santos is a multimedia journalist for KEYT | KCOY | KKFX covering primarily Ventura County.