Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego COVID-19 Hospitalizations More Than Double From Month Ago

Christa Jones, a nurse in the Sharp Grossmont Hospital intensive care unit, takes a moment to comfort a COVID-19 patient. April 20, 2020.
Zoë Meyers
Christa Jones, a nurse in the Sharp Grossmont Hospital intensive care unit, takes a moment to comfort a COVID-19 patient. April 20, 2020.
Data shows hundreds more patients could be admitted in the next couple of weeks, raising concerns about available capacity and staff to care for them all.

More than 900 COVID-19 positive or suspected patients are hospitalized in San Diego County — that’s more than double from a month ago. Data shows hundreds more patients could be admitted in the next couple of weeks, raising concerns about available capacity and staff to care for them all.

San Diego County announced more than 12,000 positive coronavirus cases this week and history shows about 5% will end up in the hospital. That’s at least 600 more patients.

San Diego COVID-19 Hospitalizations More Than Double From Month Ago
Listen to this story by Tarryn Mento.

Dimitrios Alexiou, CEO of the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said hospitals can use emergency tents to add space, but finding more health care workers isn't as easy.

Hospitals may seek emergency relief from a state law that mandates certain nurse-to-patient ratios, Alexiou said.

“There are some options as it relates to capacity. But again, I would still put it back on staffing that we need to figure out and continue to work at having adequate staff, whether it's state helping us, whether it's flexing nurse staffing ratios,” Alexiou told KPBS in a Tuesday interview.

However, Stephanie Roberson, government relations director for the California Nurses Association, said operating outside the ratios can affect patient care and nurse safety.

“We are opposed to it entirely,” Roberson said in an interview last month. “We don't think it should be happening. It is not only detrimental, obviously, first and foremost to the patients, but the nurses have to have the tools available to them to do their job safely and effectively.”

Roberson said she’s worried hospitals aren’t first exhausting other options, such as canceling elective surgeries, and said that some facilities have actually laid off nurses during the pandemic.