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SoCal region hits 0% ICU capacity as coronavirus surges

Cottage Health
California reported a one-day record of 379 deaths and over 52,000 new coronavirus cases.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. —  On a dire day today, California reported a one-day record of 379 deaths and over 52,000 new coronavirus cases.

To make matter’s worse, the Southern California region — which includes Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County and Ventura County along with eight other counties — has run out of ICU bed capacity.

"We understand that ICU capacity is impacted all across California,” Dignity Health division chief medical officer Scott Robertson said. “We've certainly seen an increased number of critical care cases here on the Central Coast."

However, 29.1% of ICU beds are still available in Santa Barbara County.

In SLO County, ICU capacity increases to 40%.

However, there are only 4.3% of ICU beds available in Ventura County. 

According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, these three local county’s make up only a small fraction of the total capacity for the Southern California Region.

"The amount of ICU's that are available in Southern California, we're doing relatively well here in comparison,” Cottage Health president and CEO Ron Werft said.

"Our ICU's have capacity to continue to care for those with COVID-19,” Robertson added. “To continue to care for those in our community should the need arise."

Yet this won’t last long, if new cases continue to climb at this rate throughout the Central Coast.

For this reason, health officials are pleading people to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure over Christmas and New Year’s.

"It's absolutely critical,” Werft concluded. “To make sure that we have sufficient numbers to take care of additional COVID-19 patients."

The Southern California region is one of four regions under the 15% ICU capacity threshold for California's recent stay-at-home order.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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