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ICU bed use drops below 100 percent
covid 19 graphic

For the first time in 56 days, there is an open ICU bed in San Joaquin County.

After nearly two months of surpassing the licensed capacity for ICU beds in the county – spurred largely by coronavirus outbreaks that stressed the county’s healthcare system – the number fell on Friday to only 99 percent of overall capacity after trending downward for the last two weeks.

While a number of hospitals are at or have exceeded licensed ICU capacity – Lodi Memorial and Dameron are both at 100 percent while the county’s two largest hospitals, San Joaquin General and St. Joseph’s in Stockton, are above capacity – the two hospitals in Manteca have room.

Currently Doctors Hospital of Manteca has an ICU that is only 88 percent full, while the Manteca Kaiser is currently operating at 67 percent.

Sutter Tracy, which serves residents in the southwest part of the county, current has an ICU that is 75 percent full.

Overall, 37 percent of the patients in the county’s ICUs have tested positive for COVID-19, compared to 17 percent of the overall number of admitted patients.

While it has been nearly two months since the county first surpassed its ICU capacity, hospital administrators have been working with county health experts to ensure that there is space for those requiring care by converting existing hospital beds into ICU beds and increasing staffing levels commensurate with that level of care. At Adventist’s Lodi Memorial Hospital, the county helped the site qualify for federal relief in the form of a military medical team that was dispatched to help augment staffing levels. 

There are 125 total hospitalized patients in San Joaquin with COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon, with just over one-quarter of all licensed hospital beds open and available.

The numbers released Friday are a welcome change from the jarring increases that have been seen all summer and are likely to aid in the county’s efforts to reopen K-6 elementary schools to students after it seemed highly improbable at the start of the school year.

To date, 307 of the 16,913 cases that have been confirmed in the county had led to death – a rate of 1.8 percent – while more than 45 percent of those that have died have been confirmed to have diabetes. According to numbers updated on Friday, 41.4 percent of patients that succumbed to the virus had heart disease, 19.2 percent had chronic lung disease, and 15.3 percent were considered obese – with multiple deaths being attributed to more than one comorbidity in addition to the virus.

While the number of new confirmed cases peaked earlier this month with 536 on Aug. 8, for the last week the number has trending downward as the county stepped up its efforts to make testing available to all residents – with both the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and those requiring ICU care trending downward since the end of July.

On Friday the State of California also released a new interactive map showing the presence of COVID-19 throughout the state and San Joaquin County joined nearly every other Central Valley and Bay Area county with a “widespread” designation – the highest of the four color-coded options.

Only three California counties qualified with “minimal” impacts. Modoc County is California’s third-smallest by population with under 9,000 residents and has only seen eight cases since the pandemic arrived earlier this year. Tuolumne County, up Highway 108, joins Alpine County – the least populated in the entire state – and Modoc County as the only three to earn the minimal designation.


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.