Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has had five hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic started, although some people may have been treated at outside healthcare facilities.
As of Tuesday, the local hospital has had those five patients with two of them placed in the intensive care unit, including one in the ICU as of Tuesday, said Frankie Gallagher, director of marketing and public relations for Hazel Hawkins.
The number of coronavirus-positive patients has been well below the hospital’s capacity to treat local residents with COVID-19. The county has had 61 total infections since the pandemic began, the vast majority of which have not needed hospital treatment.
On the surface, that would put San Benito County well below the national hospitalization rate of 60.5 people per 100,000 residents reported as of last Friday, but doesn’t take into account the unknown number of local COVID-19 cases where people may have sought out treatment in other communities’ healthcare facilities.
Residents may have been treated at outside hospitals for a variety of reasons, including insurance purposes. Gallagher acknowledged there may have been some local residents treated at hospitals in Silicon Valley or Salinas, for instance.
In San Benito County, 57% of positive cases are people who work in neighboring counties – with 71% of those commuters working in Santa Clara County, 14% in Monterey County and 6% in Santa Cruz County, according to county data. The county did not have information immediately available detailing the number of transmissions suspected to have originated in those other counties.
As for hospital capacity, the hospital now maintains eight ventilators used to help people with serious breathing issues, 11 negative pressure isolation rooms, 15 surgical beds and four ICU beds to go with six O.B. beds, Gallagher said.
One of the motivations to implement quarantine policies at the outset of the pandemic was to prevent over-capacity at hospitals.
In the meantime, the pandemic has led to postponement of some local healthcare services while those are gradually reopening, Gallagher said, adding that more information will come out soon on such progress.
“We’re slowly reopening services,” Gallagher said.