Yolo County’s hospitals stretched thin with COVID cases

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Yolo County’s COVID-19 case rate during this Delta surge appears to have peaked around Sept. 2 and has been declining since, according to the county’s health officer.

But cases remain high — 193 cases per 100,000 residents per week — and the impact on local hospital capacity remains significant, according to Dr. Aimee Sisson.

“While our overall cases and testing positivity are decreasing,” she said, “we do still have a high volume of COVID-positive patients in Yolo County’s two hospitals.”

The 19 COVID hospitalizations late last week at Sutter Davis and Woodland Memorial declined to 14 as of Wednesday, Sisson said, but 10 of those 14 patients are in intensive care units and the county has only 12 licensed ICU beds.

COVID-positive patients, she said, “are basically taking up every ICU bed in Yolo County and there was only one available ICU bed yesterday.”

Additionally, she said, there was only one regular hospital bed available.

“So while we aren’t seeing the kind of hospitalization numbers that we saw over the winter when we had a peak of 33 or 34 COVID-positive patients in the hospital, we have really stretched our hospitals as far as they can stretch in terms of available beds.”

It is a challenge throughout the state, Sisson added, but particularly in the greater Sacramento region.

On a recent day when there were 16 COVID-positive patients in Yolo County hospitals, for example, all but one were unvaccinated, according to Sisson.

Much of the county remains unvaccinated, particularly children and young adults.

“We have very good coverage in our adult population,” Sisson said during a presentation to the Yolo Health Council last Thursday.

Every age group in Yolo County over 30 is at least 74 percent fully vaccinated and those ages 30-34, 55-64 and 65-74 have vaccination rates over 80 percent.

“But we’re still challenged to get younger persons to accept the vaccine,” Sisson said. “Well under half of our population under 25 is fully vaccinated, including our 12- to 15-year-olds and 16- to 19-year-olds who are in our schools, who could be vaccinated, but have chosen not to be.”

The latest data shows just 38 percent of the county’s 16- to 19-year-olds are fully vaccinated and 46 percent of 12- to15-year-olds. The 20-24 age group has a vaccination rate of 42 percent, according to Sisson.

Vaccination rates also vary geographically.

“Across our four cities we see significant differences,” said Sisson.

In the city of Davis, 71 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. The city of Winters currently has a vaccination rate of just 48 percent, though Sisson said that may be an underestimate and the county is working with healthcare providers in Winters to clarify that number.

In the middle are Woodland, where 64 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, and West Sacramento where 53 percent are.

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