NewsCovering Kern County


ICU numbers increase in Kern County

Posted at 4:25 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 21:25:41-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — According to the state dashboard, starting June 8 Kern County had only five people in the ICU for COVID-19. As of last Tuesday, the number jumped up to 68 and now this week 72.

Those growing numbers are causing concern since local hospitals say they expect to see this increase continue and peak in October.

As the deadline gets closer for healthcare workers to be vaccinated in California, hospitals not only here in Kern County, but also across the state are concerned with how this will continue to impact the ongoing nursing shortage.

“It’s a pretty intense situation and it could result in more intense staffing shortages across not only our county but across our state,” said Bruce Peters, the CEO of Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield.

Nearly one month ago, some healthcare workers at Mercy and Memorial Hospital’s took the streets to protest the vaccine mandate. Some even saying they are willing to get fired over it.

“I am willing to lose my job like I said I’ve been at it for over 19 years I love it but I will not give in on this and it’s something I really feel firmly about,” said Tana Coffee, a registered nurse.

This comes as COVID cases and hospitalizations in Kern County continue to grow for some medical centers.

Last week, Memorial Hospitals reported 230 patients, 70 who are COVID positive, ten in the ICU and seven on ventilators.

Although, Wednesday CEO Ken Keller says Memorial has 247 patients, 95 who are COVID positive, 14 in the ICU and eight on ventilators.

At Adventist Health, President Daniel Wolcott said their staff has responded well to the mandate, but he understands they may lose people.

“We’re working with them to make sure that we have a plan to make sure our hospital is staffed it’s possible that there will be a few people that make a choice to no longer work in healthcare-related to this,” said Wolcott.

Numbers have changed somewhat for Adventist Hospitals.

Adventist Health Bakersfield had 105 COVID-19 patients on September 8 and 94 as of September 15. Adventist Health Delano had 17 COVID patients on September 8 and 12 Wednesday -- and Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley had 11 COVID patients September 8 and 14 on Wednesday.

“We are continuing to see a significant number of COVID patients, its steady the number – but the acuity continues to be very high,” said Wolcott.

Both Mercy and Memorial Hospitals are encouraging the public not to come to the hospitals for COVID testing especially if you are not symptomatic. They want to make sure they are saving the emergency room space for real emergencies.