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Kern Public Health Director: Local hospitals “stressed” as ICU beds fill up

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As case numbers continue to rise, more ICU beds are filling up in Kern area hospitals, according to the county’s public health director.

Some area hospitals are reaching their capacity, and now are executing plans that will push them into surge capacity.

“If you talk to hospitals, they are stressed, they are taxed,” said Kern County Public Health Director Matt Constantine Tuesday during a presentation in front of the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

“Most of our 10 acute hospitals are inundated with ice patients,” he continued. Adventist Bakersfield, Kern Medical, Mercy Downtown and Mercy Southwest are all at, or exceeding, their licensed ICU bed capacity.”

Constantine added other hospitals are nearing capacity.

As of Tuesday morning, Ridgecrest Regional had seven available ICU beds, per Constantine. Memorial, Bakersfield Heart, Tehachapi, and Kern Valley each had three ICU available beds, and Delano Regional had one.

It’s also important, according to Constantine, to remember the hospitals have surge plans in place once they have exceeded their licensed capacity.

“In some facilities they have found ways to have additional ICU beds…Some are perhaps as twice as much as they currently have.”

We can all do our part to prevent future hospitalizations, Constantine stated.

“I think we have helped to impact the curve. We need to do a lot more. As hospitals filled up, that’s a stark reminder we need to more. We didn’t do enough. We need to recognize the words that came from the state about wearing a mask and keeping our distance, and remember, the stay at home order still exists.”

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