“Statewide, I don’t think we’ve ever seen hospital admissions increase like we did just over the past 24 hours,” said California Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly on Tuesday. “I hope but don’t expect that it’s the highest we’ll ever have.”
California saw 15,329 new daily Covid-19 cases Tuesday. That’s barely down from an all-time high of 15,442 on Saturday. “We know that often this number [early in the week] is usually lower because of the weekend, but it’s still nearly our highest daily case number,” observed Ghaly. He noted the seven-day average is over 12,500 daily cases.
The state delivered a record number of tests on Monday, which generally drives the positivity rate lower. Still, the 14-day test positivity rate is 5.6%. In two weeks, that’s up 51%. The seven-day test positivity rating is 5.9%, which indicates that, even while testing is increasing, so are infections.
But the hospitalization data are even more disturbing. The daily number of hospitalizations due to the virus in California has increased 81% over last 14 days to 6,641.
Ghaly reminded that today’s hospitalizations are the result of the number of infections seen two weeks prior. So Tuesday’s patients are based on a case number of 7,000 that we saw on November 10. Tuesday’s daily new case count was 15,329, more than double that from two weeks ago. “We’re concerned,” said Ghaly about what lies ahead.
According to Ghaly and others, Covid-19-related hospitalizations down the road have worked out to be 12% of the daily infections number. That means the number of new hospitalizations resulting from Tuesday’s new case count will be 1,839. The number of new hospitalizations resulting from Saturday’s new cases will be 1,853 in two weeks.
According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, 44,369 of the state’s 73,867 hospital beds were occupied on Monday (see chart below). That seems like a good cushion, but even just a week of new admissions in the range of 1,800 is another 12,600 beds occupied. Two weeks at that rate is another 25,200 beds taken up. Adding that to the Monday’s total would have about 70,000 of the state’s 73,867 beds full. And those are just Covid-19 cases. That number does not account for the state’s usual daily demand due to other maladies.
Now, provision has been made for additional beds to be surged should the need arise. But according to Newsom last week, that number was just a little over a total of 1,800. That’s currently enough for just one day’s increase in Covid-19 patients.
ICU admissions, which are a subset of hospitalizations, have seen a 57% increase over the past 14 days, said Ghaly. State ICU units “already being pressed to a significant degree,” he said.
Watch Ghaly’s presentation below.
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