Santa Clara County says COVID-19 surge has impacted ability to care for other patients

Santa Clara County health officials are warning that the COVID-19 surge has grown so large at local hospitals it’s even taking a toll on non-COVID patients.

A handful of ICU beds still remain open in Santa Clara County.

While it’s a sign that the region has, so far, managed to avoid the worst, County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said the situation is precarious.

"Our hospitals are together really performing something of a high-wire act, trying to care for an extraordinary number of patients with COVID," she told Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, it seems some patients are falling off that wire as more and more coronavirus-positive patients fill ICU beds patients sick with other ailments are getting squeezed out.

"Patients with other medical conditions, which are quite serious given its an ICU status, are not in the ICU," Dr. Ahmad Kamal of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said. "We will be paying off this debt for months and years to come because these people are going to get sicker and their needs are going to increase. They’re not going to go away."

The county reported 43 deaths Tuesday, bringing its total to 986 over the course of the pandemic.