California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday told reporters that the intensive care unit bed capacity in the state might reach 112% by Christmas Eve, if the trend of surging coronavirus cases continues.
In Rhode Island, officials prepared to use field hospitals after telling residents their systems were already at capacity.
In New York, where some hospitals saw room capacity taxed in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this time medical systems need to take steps to move patients to the other facilities that have space.
“No patient wants to be in an overwhelmed hospital, because you’re getting less care, the staff is stretched thin, it’s in the patient’s best interest, distribute the patient load over the system,” Cuomo said Monday.
“We’re not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again.”
Cuomo said hospitals need to prepare to staff emergency field facilities and confirm they have 90 days of personal protective equipment.
Ken Raske, the president of Greater New York Hospital Association, said hospital systems learned several lessons from the first wave of Covid-19 cases.
He assured the governor at Monday’s news conference that New Yorkers are in good hands.
“I’m confident sir,” he said, “based on what I’ve seen and what our hospitals are experiencing currently, that our ability to cope with this is going to be a total team effort as it has been and our ability to respond to the needs of the public including all their healthcare needs will be assured by the kind of plan you just outlined.”
In California, Newsom said he was considering a new stay-at-home order. He recently instituted a monthlong curfew — 10 p.m to 5 a.m. — on nonessential activities in most counties.
At the current rate of new infections, hospitalizations could double or triple within the next month if there are no major changes, Newsom told reporters.
The number of patients needing intensive care will surpass capacity by mid-December, he said. Total hospitalizations statewide could reach 78% by Christmas Eve.
“If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic action,” he said, referring to the rising number of cases and a potential stay-at-home order.
‘Our health care system is literally at the breaking point, Rhode Island doctor says
Many US hospitals are already at capacity.
In Rhode Island, residents received an alarming public safety warning on their phones Monday:
“Hospitals at capacity due to COVID,” the alert from the governor’s office said.
“Help the frontline by staying home as much as possible for the next two weeks. Work remotely if you can, avoid social gatherings, get tested. If we all decrease our mobility, we will save lives.”
The state has put together two field hospitals, one of which will start taking patients Monday, said Audrey Lucas, press secretary for Gov. Gina Raimondo.
The other field hospital could start taking patients as early as this week.