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Eisenhower COO: Predictions show current surge will be worse than in July

In a memo to hospital staff, Eisenhower Health's Chief Operating Officer, Martin Massiello, spoke about the current infection and hospitalization rates, which he notes is more concerning than in his previous update.

Earlier this month, the hospital published a note to staff from Masiello raising the alarm on a sharp increase of cases at the hospital.

Nearly two weeks since that note, Masiello said that while current trends are in line with what hospital officials predicted, the Epidemiology Department is predicting that the surge will be worse than the one in July.

Riverside County and the Coachella Valley reported its highest day-to-day case increase and hospitalizations during the July surge. The hospital was so short-staffed that a team of 21 U.S. Air Force medical personnel were sent to help.

Masiello notes that the Epidemiology Department's grim prediction comes from the sharp increase in cases and positivity rate not just in the Coachella Valley but across California.

The 7-day percent positivity rate at Eisenhower Health is currently 11%, a 14% increase in the past four days. Just two weeks ago, the percent positivity rate at the hospital was 5%, the highest it had been since August.

"Which indicates the potential for a significant increase in hospitalizations," Massiello said of the percent positivity rate on Nov. 9.

Masiello also noted two age groups in particular have shown the biggest increase in positive cases in the past week (Nov.4 - Nov. 11 vs. Nov. 11 - Nov. 18):

  • 18-29-year-olds (81% increase)
  • 50-59-year-olds (44% increase)]

Dr. Geoffrey Leung, the Chair of the Riverside County's Family Medicine Department, said on Monday that if the current infection trends continue as is, hospitalizations and cases in Riverside County could increase by two-to-three times by this time next month.

Leung did add that county hospitals are better prepared for a surge this time around as safety protocols are written out and there is a good supply of PPE. He also mentioned that the county has learned how to quickly trade-off space to make room for more patients.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom called the recent spike in cases across the state unprecedented.

"The virus is spreading at a pace we haven't seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm," Newsom said. "It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We've done it before and we must do it again."

Newsom said daily cases numbers in the state have doubled just in
the last 10 days.

"This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since
the beginning of this pandemic," Newsom said.

At the start of November, the state saw a 51.3% increase in a one-week period.

Newsom also noted that hospitalizations have increased by 48% and ICU has seen a 39% increase over the last two weeks.

It's no different here in Riverside County, where the new cases per day per 100K rate, positivity rate, hospitalizations, the number of ICU patients has continued a rapid increase since October.

The surge has led to the state issuing orders reminiscent of those back when the pandemic first started in March.

On Thursday, the state issued a limited stay-at-home order that adds a 10 p.m. curfew for counties in the purple tier. The curfew starts on Nov. 21 and runs through Dec. 21.

Full Details: California implements 10 p.m. curfew for counties in purple tier

Newsom also issued a mandate requiring all people in California to wear a face covering when outside of their homes, with limited exceptions.

Check out more on the mask order and what the exceptions are

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates on the pandemic.

Get alerts on major orders and announcement as they come in, download the News Channel 3 app on the Apple Store or Google Play.

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Jesus Reyes


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