Bay Area ICU capacity drops to lowest level, near 0%

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/AP) – Bay Area ICU capacity levels hit a dangerous low Monday as statewide deaths continue to surge.

In a press conference Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said there has been a 6% statewide increase in hospitalizations over the last two weeks, but that is the smallest increase the state has seen in that trend recently, giving some hope that restrictions are working.

However, the Bay Area’s ICU capacity has been dropping and is now less than 1%.

As of Monday, the region is at 0.7% availability.

But individual counties in the region are doing better. As of Jan. 9, San Francisco reports having 29% available ICU capacity.

At this time, two regions remain at 0% capacity: Southern California and San Joaquin Valley.

The Greater Sacramento region is at 9.7%, and Northern California region is doing the best at 35% ICU availability.

California has reached 30,000 coronavirus deaths but Newsom said hospitalizations have finally leveled off in the last week.

Officials said the peak of the holiday-driven surge is expected near the end of January.

California desperately needs more medical workers at facilities swamped by coronavirus patients, and almost no help is coming from a volunteer program that Newsom created at the start of the pandemic.

An army of 95,000 initially raised their hands, but just 14 are now working in the field.

Newsom said very few volunteers met qualifications for the California Health Corps, and only a tiny sliver have the high-level experience needed to help with the most serious virus cases.

Meanwhile, the pace of vaccinations in California will accelerate.

California is slated to start vaccinating teachers, emergency, food, and farm workers in Phase 1B.

Governor Newsom said he is likely to be grouped into the following round, Phase 1C.

Two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo have also tested positive for the coronavirus. Newsom says the state is investigating the cases, and the gorillas are symptomatic.

Newsom was then asked how he felt about supporting Trump’s Impeachment, and he said “I’m all for it.”

He then continued to express that it’s not his priority, “I’m trying to get 291 folks from the Department of Defense. To be candid, I’m trying to focus on the surge.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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