December 22, 2023

Fresno, California hospitals struggle to meet demand

Editor's Note

Hospitals in Fresno County, California are operating over capacity by 20% to 40% due to a sharp rise in respiratory diseases such as flu, COVID-19 and RSV, according to a December 18 press release from the Fresno County Department of Public Health. In addition to straining resources, the situation is leading officials to plead with the public to avoid emergency rooms for non-emergency conditions. 

In fact, wait times for non-emergency conditions regularly exceed 10 hours. Due to lack of capacity, some patients are being held in the ER for days. Others remain in non-patient areas, such as conference rooms. The Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno closed its 10-bed pediatric intensive care unit due to rising demand for adult patients, but will continue to admit children needing ICU care. 

Health officials are urging the local population to make use of other health resources as they cope with the strain – including urgent care centers, clinics and physician offices – and to get vaccinated for COVID, flu, and RSV to protect against infection. 

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