The State of California is approaching a record number of people hospitalized since the start of the pandemic.
The LA Times reports the state averaged about 52,000 hospital patients for all reasons last week, just about 3,000 less than the peak of hospitalizations last winter. About 30%t of those in California hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19, while the state is also reporting a decline in emergency room visits from more than 46,000 earlier this month. Patients testing positive for COVID continue to account for a wide margin of the overall census of hospital patients admitted - as of Tuesday, 15,179 such patients were hospitalized statewide, the highest since Jan. 29, 2021, according to state data show. Intensive care patients have also greatly increased since the summer of last year, and in recent weeks California hospitals alone have seen the strain worsen since last winter’s deadly surge.
California's top healthcare professionals are calling these "near-crisis levels” with not only increased patient numbers but declining hospital staffing and slowed emergency response times.