Bay Area regional ICU capacity dwindling

County of Marin logoWith a regional COVID-19 sheltering order set to expire January 8, Marin County Public Health officials are expecting the State of California to issue an indefinite extension of restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus that has led to 115 Marin deaths.

Due to dwindling intensive care unit (ICU) capacity at hospitals across the region, the state implemented a stay-home order[External] for the Bay Area region, which includes Marin, on December 17 for a minimum of three weeks. The stay-home order will be lifted once the region’s ICU capacity forecast meets or exceeds 15%.

The California Department of Public Health[External] (CDPH) ICU capacity projections are based on four factors:

  • estimated regional ICU capacity available
  • measure of current community transmission
  • current regional case rates
  • the proportion of cases being admitted to the ICU

“As case rates increase, ICU capacity decreases, and the numbers are still moving in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Matt Willis, the County’s Public Health Officer. “The Bay Area is down to 4% ICU capacity, the lowest it’s ever been. We feel it’s best to inform our communities that the stay-home order likely will remain in place until we reverse the trend across the region. We can all do our part to reopen our community by sticking to the stay-home order and preventing new infections.”

The Public Health team is hosting an virtual town hall at 2 p.m. January 8 to provide an update about stay-home order and COVID-19 vaccine progress. Willis and Dr. Tyler Evans will provide a local progress update during the live online session and participants will be allowed to submit questions.

Many of the most common vaccine questions are already answered on a “Facts vs. Myths” webpage, a vaccine distribution webpage, and many other pages offered by staff from the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services. Spanish interpretation will be offered at the virtual event.

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