Details emerge on County’s ‘hospital surge’ capabilities, testing capacity

With an expected surge in the number of COVID-19 patients needing critical case in coming weeks, Santa Clara County health officials are detailing their capacity-building work.

The County’s Emergency Operations Center has a Hospital Surge Capacity Branch that is coordinating the efforts with local hospitals to ensure enough staffing and supplies.

That includes the necessary personal protective equipment – or PPE – that has been lacking at health facilities across the country.

“The capacity of our health care system to respond to large events is expandable and elastic,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Hospital Surge Capacity Branch Chief.

It comes after the County announced further preparedness activity at the Santa Clara Convention Center. County and Federal Officials are setting it up as a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients not in need of ICU care.

New data dashboards show capacity, low testing levels

The County also released new data, on two new dashboards available on their website, documenting capacity for hospitals and critical equipment, including ventilators, as well as testing information.

As of Tuesday, 936 acute-care beds were available, including 92 ICU beds. There were 1,456 beds in the surge capacity, demonstrating the huge new capacity available for treating patients. 392 ventilators were available for use as of Tuesday. County Executive, Dr. Jeff Smith, said earlier this week that orders were in for 500 more.

It is unclear from the County’s announcement how staffing will be handled for the huge number of new care facilities.

A second new data dashboard announced Thursday shows testing completed thus far in the County. As of Wednesday, more than 8,200 patients had been tested, resulting in 956 positive cases. With an average positivity rate of more than 11.5%, the average turnaround for results is about 2.5 days.

The numbers of completed tests pale in comparison to the numbers occurring in other states. In New York State officials have tested nearly 221,000 individuals as of Tuesday. Last week County officials demanded more data from private testing labs.

According to health officials, “testing capacity in Santa Clara County is dependent on the ability of commercial and academic laboratories to rapidly scale.”

To see the new data dashboards, visit the County’s coronavirus website here.