The 10 counties in the Northern Sierra Section are seeing the highest-ever number of COVID-19 cases that, unlike most of the state, have not yet begun to decrease. In fact, Tehama County cases are still increasing. Staffing shortages at hospitals are a major issue, with many reporting a curtailing of services, including canceling outpatient surgery, stopping community vaccination clinics, an inability to transfer to either higher or lower acuity, and curtailing outpatient in general to focus on inpatient. For many, staff morale is at an all-time low due to stress, exhaustion, COVID-19 impacts at work and home, and hospitals seeing highest-ever levels of mortality. A lesson learned for some from previous surges was to not stop all surgeries, as that only resulted in demoralized surgeons and a loss of staff who do only surgery.
Thanks to a hospital bringing it to our attention, Hospital Council and CHA were able to surface and address (with state, federal, and White House officials) a statewide disruption in the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatment doses.
PG&E’s public safety power shutoff (PSPS) season is underway. Weekly Hospital Council/CHA/PG&E meetings are ongoing, and we are confident PG&E is well-positioned for a repeat of last year, where PSPS season was far better than in 2019. This is proving key, as many PSPS-prone hospitals are experiencing highest-ever COVID-19 surges.
Wildfires remain a concern as they continue to threaten hospitals and have impacted staff and communities, most notably because of hospital evacuations, the loss of staff housing, and the increase in COVID-19 caused by an influx of people from outside the local area (e.g., firefighters and returning evacuees).