KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — The state has announced that hospitals across the central valley are now under surge protocols due to a lack of beds.
The San Joaquin Valley region, which includes Kern County, has had fewer than 10 percent of staffed ICU beds for the past few days.
The lack of beds triggered special rules that require nearby hospitals to take transfer patients from the region.
If ICU capacity falls to zero percent, hospitals across the state would need to begin accepting patients.
Health officials are urging residents to take precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19.
"If you want to know how you can be sure that your loved one has a bed in the hospital tonight, if they have a heart attack, then wear a mask. This results in increased bed capacity in the hospital," said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer.
Officials say the region will be re-evaluated on Thursday, then it will be decided if those rules are extended.