COVID-19 · Health

Valley hospitals issue desperate plea as COVID hospitalizations pile up

The impact of soaring coronavirus hospitalizations are taking a toll on health care institutions running the length of Highway 99.

Sunday, virtually all of the hospital groups from Madera to Tulare counties issued a joint statement pleading with Valley residents to take precautions and get vaccinated to avoid hospitalization.

“The COVID-19 burdens on our hospitals is greater than ever before,” the joint statement, tendered by Community Medical Centers, reads.

Signing on to the effort were St. Agnes Medical Center, Visalia-based Kaweah Health,, Valley Children’s Healthcare, Madera Community Hospital, Porterville-based Sierra View Medical Center, San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital, UCSF Fresno, and Fresno County Department of Public Health.

“At Community Medical Centers, 71% of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” the statement reads. “This problem is preventable, and its threatening our ability to provide care to the ones who need it most.”

Kaweah Health similarly described the situation in emergency rooms as “pushing close to disaster levels.”

The hospitals also advised Valley residents get tested for COVID-19 at testing sites away from hospitals, such as pharmacies, urgent cares, or doctor’s offices.

Les Hubbard is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.