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Posted on: January 6, 2021

Jan. 6, 2021 - State Health Order Aims at Freeing Up Hospital Capacity Across California

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The California Department of Public Health Director late yesterday issued a Health Order intended to maintain quality of care in hospitals experiencing a surge in COVID-19 patients by increasing the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) and other hospital beds statewide. 

The Order outlines two measures to reduce the strain on hospitals: the immediate cancellation of most elective surgeries, and the ability to transfer patients between counties, regions and the state as a whole. Counties are subject to the stoppage of surgical procedures if the following conditions are met:

  • The county falls under the Regional Stay Home Order
  • The region’s ICU capacity is at 0%
  • The county’s ICU capacity is under 10%. 

While the Health Order authorizes patients to be transferred to other hospitals, including into and out of Humboldt County, Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said he believes the most immediate impact will be an increase in hospital capacity statewide as many surgical procedures are canceled. 

He stated that the intent of the order is to avoid crisis care standards throughout the state by freeing up nearby resources, not to move patients from one end of the state to the other. 

“This order is meant to help severely impacted hospitals and regions free up space by stopping elective procedures in those areas, allowing for better transfer of patients within that county or region,” he said. “Elective surgeries in Humboldt will not be immediately impacted because we don’t meet the state’s criteria at this time.” 

Dr. Hoffman went on to say that this is another sign that the pandemic is depleting the resources of health care systems. “We’re not only talking about patients with COVID. All of us could feel the impacts if our hospitals are overwhelmed,” he said. “That’s why we have to double down on our efforts to keep from spreading this virus.” Dr. Hoffman urged residents of Humboldt County to help keep each other healthy by staying home as much as possible, keeping at least 6 feet of distance from people outside of one’s household and wearing a facial covering at all times in public.  

Read the Order in full here:  

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JAN6 State Health Order (PDF)
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