After experiencing the lowest levels of COVID-19 since last year, hospitalizations in Southern California have swelled by close to 280 percent in the last month. The rapidly rising numbers, the spread of the infectious Delta variant, and unvaccinated populations are concerning as they signal continued increases in hospitalizations over the coming weeks.
Fortunately, CDPH has extended the statewide space waiver for hospitals (AFL 20-26.9) until September 30. This timely extension enables hospitals to use space and beds required for patient care without additional approval. While this good news comes at an unsettling time, we’re grateful for the flexibility as we brace for another influx of COVID-19 patients.
Earlier this week, the governor made an announcement requiring health care settings, including hospitals, to verify the vaccination status of all health care workers — and to expect those who are unvaccinated to wear masks and be tested regularly. We’re hopeful that this important step will encourage our workforce to protect themselves and patients.
The unvaccinated are an overwhelming contributor to the recent uptick as our hospitals see younger patients enter their doors. The idea that youthful vigor alone will protect individuals from getting sick is not supported by science. In recognition of the static vaccination rates among younger adults and other susceptible populations such as our Black and Latinx communities, HASC has collaborated with public health departments, health plans and partnering organizations to launch a public campaign to encourage vaccinations among these segments of the population. HASC developed a communications and social media toolkit for our member hospitals and partnering organizations to deliver these critical messages to their communities, and I encourage you to take advantage of these resources.
As I shared earlier this month, HASC recently launched its Pandemic Response and Emergency Preparation (PREP) project, which will draw from a range of perspectives to more fully understand the extraordinary challenges that emerged over the course of the pandemic. When complete, the resulting report will identify best practices and develop meaningful and actionable recommendations for cross-industry preparedness for future emergencies. I’d like to thank everyone that has taken our online survey, and if you haven’t yet had an opportunity, I encourage you to lend your valued voice to the project.
Thanks for your continued communication and cooperation.
Stay safe, stay in touch, and stay informed.