Fresno County hospitals overrun due to respiratory illnesses

County officials are pleading with the public to only use local emergency rooms in cases of actual emergencies.

Fresno County is urging people to not visit local emergency rooms since they are in the midst of a historic number of admitted patients. 

The county released a message Monday pleading with the public to seek out alternate care options. 


The big picture: Fresno County said local hospitals are severely impacted currently with a record number of admitted patients and people accessing the emergency department with non-urgent medical problems. 

  • County officials are asking the public to seek non-emergency care at urgent care centers, clinics and physician’s offices, or to use telehealth through insurance carriers. 
  • Emergency department waiting times are regularly exceeding 10 hours for patients who are not experiencing emergencies. 
  • Ambulances are often waiting one to two hours to turn over patients at hospitals. 
  • The county warns that hospitals may need to temporarily divert patients for a period of time until it is safe to re-open if conditions do not improve. That, the county says, would place significant pressure on other local hospitals that remain open. 
  • Hospitals are operating at least 20 to 40 percent over maximum capacity currently and are holding admitted patients in their emergency departments for up to four days. 
  • Hospitals are also using conference rooms and non-patient areas to hold patients. 

Driving the news: The high patient volume is because of a sharp rise in respiratory illnesses caused by many circulating viruses. 

  • Those viruses include Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Influenza and COVID-19. 

What they’re saying: “We need everyone’s help to slow down the number of people using the emergency room for non-emergency medical issues,” said Dan Lynch, Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Director.

Related Posts