Health & Fitness

Kaiser Hospitals Over 100 Percent Capacity: CEO

In addition, 16 of Kaiser's 36 California hospitals are above 100 percent ICU occupancy, according to Kaiser Permanente's chairman and CEO.

Hospital workers are exhausted after months of California's coronavirus fight.
Hospital workers are exhausted after months of California's coronavirus fight. (Shutterstock)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — California's hospitals are at the breaking point and the worst is still ahead.

That's the message from hospital leaders who held a news conference Tuesday to urge Californians to stay home this Christmas and New Year's.

Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO Greg Adams said Kaiser's hospitals are at over 100 percent capacity, and 52 percent are patients diagnosed with COVID. Additionally, 16 of Kaiser's 36 hospitals are above 100 percent occupancy in their intensive care units.

Hospital leaders said staff exhaustion is their biggest concern going into the holidays. Clinicians are having to carry larger workloads as hospitalizations increase, and the around-the-clock work is taking a toll on providers' mental health.

>>Related: Running On Fumes — "the adrenaline is gone and it's just exhausting"

"We are seeing unprecedented numbers of patients with very severe illnesses moving from our intensive care units out into the regular floors, requiring nurses and physicians that don't normally provide care to these very critically ill patients stretch to the tops of their license," said Vanessa Walker, Valley Area eICU Medical Director at Sutter Health.

"I know it's been a long road for everybody, it's been nine months, we're tired of doing this, but this is the time we need to be most conscious," said Thomas McGinn, an executive at Dignity Health. "If you want to celebrate next year with your family and your friends and your loved ones, now is the time to be disciplined."

Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged in a Monday briefing that some models predict 99,000 virus-related hospitalizations by mid-January.

— Patch editor Bea Karnes and Bay City News contributed to this story

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