Ventura County hospital system near capacity after COVID-19 surge

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- Ventura County is dealing with a holiday surge. The eight-hospital system is near capacity with nearly 1,000 patients -- and nearly half of them are infected with COVID-19.

"Fourty-four percent roughly have patients in the hospital are COVID patients, and it's a record number of patients we have county-wide. It is a great strain on the system. The hospitals and their wonderful professionals are doing an amazing job of managing it. We can't keep it up at this rate" said Ventura County CEO Michael Powers.

"The hospitals are very full. Our ERs are very full. At times we don't have places to put ambulances. The more ambulances come into our hospitals, there's no place to put those patients," said Steve Carroll with Ventura County Emergency Medical.

On Tuesday, 894 new cases were reported with 81 COVID patients in ICU beds. Eight new deaths were also reported, bringing the Ventura County total to 297. This comes as nearly 4,000 cases were reported over the new year holiday.

"I'm concerned, depending on what actions our population took over the Christmas and new year's break, we may continue to see this over the next three to six weeks," said Dr. Todd Flosi with Ventura County Medical Center.

The county says at times when patients are brought in by ambulance, the wait to finally get admitted to a hospital could be up to four hours.

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