The rampaging coronavirus is revealing new unpredictability as the promised post-holiday surge continues apace, with some hospitals now seeing an uptick in patients sick with COVID-19 who had no underlying medical conditions, officials say.
Hospitals in the Bay Area and beyond are seeing an increase in such patients, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert with UCSF, said Sunday.
“It’s not just people in nursing homes or people who are ill with immuno-compromising conditions who are the ones getting sick,” Chin-Hong said. “With COVID, it’s an equal opportunity disease, in some sense.”
That lends more uncertainty to predicting who will become seriously ill.
Earlier in the pandemic, only 7% of COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County occurred among people with no underlying medical conditions, while now, 14% of deaths are among that group, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Santa Clara County over the weekend recorded its highest COVID-19 death toll to date — 40 lives lost to the virus were recorded Saturday — as case numbers and deaths reached troubling new heights and health leaders braced for more weeks of tragic post-holiday-gathering outcomes.
The Bay Area overall neared yet another depressing milestone Sunday, with nearly 3,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Close to 303,000 Bay Area residents had been infected as of Sunday. Statewide, the death toll is on track to soon reach 30,000.
Overwhelmed hospitals across California continue struggling to find intensive care beds, while experts predict the surge will get even worse this month before possibly leveling out in February.
The Bay Area region’s hospital ICU capacity was at just 3% availability, based on Friday records, and the greater Sacramento region nearly as tight at 6.4%. The hospitals currently most impacted by the pandemic, in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions, continued to struggle with zero percent ICU capacity available and used ad-hoc facilities set up by the state to ensure all patients can get care.
Vaccination rates continued to lag behind distribution. California had administered 734,405 vaccine shots as of Saturday, out of nearly 2.2 million doses shipped to local health departments and health care systems in multiple counties.
Globally, more than 90 million people have been infected and nearly 2 million people have died, including more than 373,000 Americans, data tracked by Johns Hopkins University shows.