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Bakersfield sees surge in COVID cases after Labor Day

Coronavirus Kern County
Posted at 5:09 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 21:41:26-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Wednesday's COVID-19 case numbers are lower than Tuesday when the impact from the Labor Day weekend was felt. But they are still high and delta variant cases saw a jump with 20 new cases, increasing the total number in Kern County to 155

The county saw 555 new COVID infections bringing the total number of coronavirus cases for Kern County up to 116,280. And sadly another person lost their life to the virus increasing the number of COVID-related deaths to 1,486 since the pandemic began.

Before Labor Day health officials predicted there would be a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the holiday and Wednesday they are continuing to see more patients as it relates to COVID-19 as well as other illnesses. The state reported a 14-day average of more than 50 percent of hospitalized patients across the county. According to the state dashboard, back on June 8th Kern County had five people in the ICU for COVID. As of Tuesday, that number was 68.

Both Adventist and Dignity Health officials told 23ABC they are completely stretched thin when it comes to caring at the hospitals and as of Wednesday Adventist Health said they are now pausing elective health surgeries.

“We’re just simply out of space, out of staff and I’m quite concerned about our staff at this point,” said Bruce Peters, CEO of Mercy Hospitals.

That’s the case across all local Bakersfield hospitals, officials said staff is stretched thin and patients continue to come in.

“For routine things, people are going to wait hours and hours and hours. It’s just not something we can handle as expeditiously as we would in another time frame,” said Peters.

Bruce Peters from Mercy Hospital also adds that just in the last week, Mercy Southwest Hospital has 109 patients but is only being licensed to have 82 patients and their ICU capacity is full.

Adventist Health hospitals across the county are also facing similar issues.

“Adventist health is at the peak point of our capacity; we are at the place where we are stretched to our maximum. In fact just today we made the decision to pause elective surgeries, so that means people’s who’s surgical care can be delayed safely is going to be paused for at least two weeks,” said Daniel Wolcott President, Adventist Health Kern County.

Just over the past week, Wolcott said ICU capacity has doubled.

“The change that we’ve seen over the last week or 10 days is that we’ve seen a number of ICU level of care patients approx. double from around 20 to today we have 40 patients across the county,” said Wolcott.

Wolcott also said he believes things may get worse.

“We’re continuing to see that surge rise; we don’t expect to see the peak until the middle of October unless our community changes its behavior,” said Wolcott.

At Memorial Hospital CEO Ken Keller said they have already halted elective surgeries and they have 230 patients with 70 COVID positive and 7 on ventilators.

“We put in place our committee to evaluate and kind of triage surgeries, each of us has pretty much postponed elective or nonurgent surgeries that would require an additional night,” said Keller.

23ABC reached out to Kern Medical, and they were unable to give us their hospital data at this time.