SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials are struggling with housing the elderly with dementia, who are infected with COVID-19 and do not exhibit symptoms.
“We can’t send them to a hospital because they don’t need that level of care,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s chief health officer and director of the Health Care Agency. “And we can’t send them to a nursing facility. And we can’t send them to a hotel.”
Those patients will likely be housed at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, which is expected to open on Thursday.
“But we only have the availability of 50 beds,” Chau said. “We’re going to run out of options to take care of these people.”
The county is also dealing with an uptick in outbreaks at skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. As of Tuesday, 32 skilled nursing facilities have had two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 36 assisted living facilities had two or more cases.
County officials have been asked to provide personal protective equipment, more training or staffing to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in those facilities, where the main reason for the spread is likely from employees who contract the virus off-site, Kim said.
Chau speculated that new treatments have perhaps helped keep most of the hospitalized patients out of intensive care.
“But people are still ending up in the hospital and still in ICU,” Chau said. “Without all these newly approved treatment options the number of those in ICU would probably be worse.”
Supervisor Doug Chaffee said he received a text message from a medical professional at St. Jude Medical Center last night that indicated the hospital is at “99 percent capacity.”
The hospital’s 301 beds are full with 138 COVID-19 patients, Chaffee said.
“The ICU is at 105% capacity,” Chaffee said. “They’re using every available bed. The emergency department has an overflow… All the Orange County hospitals are in the same situation. It is dire, so they’ll soon be erecting a tent in the parking lot, probably for triage. I think what we’re seeing is not a surge, but a tsunami.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)