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Riverside County Faces Dire Straits In COVID-19 Hospital Capacity

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Southern California ICUs are full enough to trigger state-mandated health orders for the entire region.

In Riverside County, records for new coronavirus cases were set every day last week. Currently, more than 680 people are hospitalized there with COVID-19, and 145 of those patients are in intensive care. Officials are bracing for more this week.

The county is home to 17 acute care facilities, some of which have already implemented plans for a surge in cases.

Jose Arballo, a public health spokesperson for the area, said that the biggest issue facing the county’s medical system is not a lack of beds and ventilators, but a lack of staff.

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“Hospitals ... will be reaching out to try to bring in additional staff, and those staff usually come from the same pool,” he said. “And so you have 17 hospitals [requesting] the same groups of people.”

If more people start isolating now, the infection rate could drop within two-to-three weeks.