State Halts Some Elective Surgeries in Effort to Avoid 'Crisis Care'

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Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman says he believes a new state health order aimed at increasing capacity at hospitals across California will help avoid “crisis care” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This order is meant to help severely impacted hospitals and regions free up space by stopping elective procedures in those areas, allowing for better transfer of patients within that county or region,” he said in a news release from the county’s Joint Information Center “Elective surgeries in Humboldt will not be immediately impacted because we don’t meet the state’s criteria at this time.”

The new health order applies if a county is currently under California’s stay home order due to a shortage of ICU beds, is in one of the regions at 0 percent ICU capacity or the county itself is under 10 percent ICU capacity, according to the Humboldt County Joint Information Center release.

The state’s stay home order, which divides California into five regions, is triggered throughout the region when its commutative available hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15 percent, as has already occurred in the rest of the state.

Humboldt’s region is the only one not yet under the order, with a ICU capacity of 24.4 percent, which is a drop from yesterday’s 29.8 percent. Statewide, as of yesterday, 2.4 million people have been confirmed to have the disease, with more than 27,000. COVID-related fatalities. Today, 30 new cases were reported in Humboldt, as the county nears the 2,000 mark.

“We’re not only talking about patients with COVID. All of us could feel the impacts if our hospitals are overwhelmed,” Hoffman said. “That’s why we have to double down on our efforts to keep from spreading this virus.”

Read the full JIC release below:


The California Department of Public Health Director late yesterday issued a Health Order intended to maintain quality of care in hospitals experiencing a surge in COVID-19 patients by increasing the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) and other hospital beds statewide. The Order outlines two measures to reduce the strain on hospitals: the immediate cancellation of most elective surgeries, and the ability to transfer patients between counties, regions and the state as a whole.

Counties are subject to the stoppage of surgical procedures if the following conditions are met: The county falls under the Regional Stay Home Order The region’s ICU capacity is at 0% The county’s ICU capacity is under 10%.

While the Health Order authorizes patients to be transferred to other hospitals, including into and out of Humboldt County, Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said he believes the most immediate impact will be an increase in hospital capacity statewide as many surgical procedures are canceled.

He stated that the intent of the order is to avoid crisis care standards throughout the state by freeing up nearby resources, not to move patients from one end of the state to the other.

“This order is meant to help severely impacted hospitals and regions free up space by stopping elective procedures in those areas, allowing for better transfer of patients within that county or region,” he said. “Elective surgeries in Humboldt will not be immediately impacted because we don’t meet the state’s criteria at this time.”

Dr. Hoffman went on to say that this is another sign that the pandemic is depleting the resources of health care systems. “We’re not only talking about patients with COVID. All of us could feel the impacts if our hospitals are overwhelmed,” he said. “That’s why we have to double down on our efforts to keep from spreading this virus.”

Dr. Hoffman urged residents of Humboldt County to help keep each other healthy by staying home as much as possible, keeping at least 6 feet of distance from people outside of one’s household and wearing a facial covering at all times in public.

Read the Order in full here:
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Order-of-the-State-Public-Health-Officer-Hospital-Surge_1-5-2021.aspx.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting the Joint Information Center at covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or 707-441-5000.

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