Coachella Valley's three hospitals reported zero to lower-than-usual bed availability on Thursday.
Hospital spokespeople from Eisenhower Health as well as JFK Memorial Hospital and Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs said the low bed availability is not entirely due to the coronavirus. There has reportedly been a higher volume of people in the Coachella Valley this summer season, and more people have been coming into the hospitals for non-coronavirus-related emergencies, like broken legs. Experts said the number of people who have either chosen to stay in the Coachella Valley during the sweltering summer season or are visiting has gone up this year. Medical experts said many have also put off regular checkups or healthcare until medical issues forced them to seek emergency treatment.
“We are seeing a higher volume than we typically would see in the summer months. We’re finding that our staff needs are very different this summer," said Ben Farber, Chief Nursing Officer, Eisenhower Health.
As of late Thursday morning, Eisenhower reported 56 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with nine people in the ICU. The current hospitalization number is an exponential jump from the one patient hospitalized at Eisenhower just a couple months ago.
A statement from Lee Rice, Public Information Officer at Eisenhower Health, reads:
"As the full-time population of the Coachella Valley continues to grow and travelers make this area their destination of choice, so will the demands for healthcare grow. At present, the number of hospitalizations is still far less than the surge the hospital experienced in late December 2020/early January so it’s manageable right now. The hospital is operating at 90% or more of our current staffed bed capacity, so to meet this demand the hospital initiated its code triage — quickly mobilizing staff to assist with streamlining the patient discharge process and optimizing patient flow to help with bed availability."- Lee Rice, PIO of Eisenhower Health
Tenet Healthcare, which runs Desert Regional Medical Center and JFK Memorial Hospital, reported 40 COVID-19 hospitalized patients at Desert Regional Medical Center as of late Thursday morning. Six are in the ICU, and 32 out of the 40 patients are unvaccinated. At JFK Memorial Hospital, Tenet Healthcare reported 14 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Four of those patients are in the ICU. None of the 14 patients are vaccinated.
"I can tell you that we are running a higher census level than is customary at this time of the year, but we are managing our capacity within the Desert Care Network to meet the needs of our community," said Todd Burke, Director of Communications for Tenet Healthcare, in a statement.
Staff at all three hospitals said bed availability changes throughout the day and reminded people to come in if there is an emergency or if needed.
“If they need care we’re here for them," said Farber.
"We have health professionals here ready to meet the needs of the community," said Mike Ditoro, Chief Operating Officer, Desert Care Network.
Hospital staff are also urging people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to avoid serious symptoms or complications resulting in hospitalizations.