Health officials in the Inland Empire are worried about another big wave of COVID-19 infections as they say there has already been a rise in cases and hospitalizations.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Victor Waters, at the St. Bernardine Medical Center spoke to his staff today and told them to be ready for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients.
"We are seeing a slight rise in our cases. We are seeing nationwide increases and in our county we are seeing almost a 54% increase in hospitalizations," Dr. Waters said.
Dr. Waters said despite the increase, hospitals in San Bernardino County are prepared to handle more ICU patients.
Staff members have plenty of supplies for now, but he's still concerned about the combination of COVID-19 and the flu season could eventually overwhelm the ICU’s.
"So we are bracing -- hopefully it won't happen, but we are very concerned that it could," he said.
Riverside County health officials say there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, but right now hospitals still have room for more patients.
"There's plenty of capacity. There is plenty of equipment available. We are making sure that the equipment we have and staffing we have, are ready in case they're needed," Riverside County Public Health Spokesperson, Jose Arballo said.
However, with the holidays around the corner, health officials are worried about an additional surge of patients coming from family gatherings during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"Think about their family members who may have underlying health issues or older. What would life be like without them or if they were to get sick and you find out you were the cause of that illness,” Arballo said.
Dr. Waters says if you are still planning on attending family gatherings, to remember to wear face coverings, wash your hands and practice social distancing.
"They have to be on guard, don't relax please," Dr. Waters advised.