SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The state reported that hospitals in Monterey County had 26 positive COVID-19 patients as of Monday. 17 of them were in Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, according to facility representatives.
“I mean, I would be worried," SVMH Director of Emergency Services Carla Spencer, RN, said.
SVMH said they're seeing an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients. It's the most they've have so far, and they're prepared for that number to grow. But, healthcare providers say, there's no way to know, at this point, whether the virus will get out of control.
"It’s really hard to tell," Spencer said. "The numbers are rising. I think it’s just something that we have to keep our thumb on the pulse."
In order to monitor the situation, public health officials look at a few numbers beyond hospitalizations. The positivity rate is one of them. It shows how many people tested positive out of everyone who got tested.
Public Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno said in a press conference on Monday that the number has gone down. Two weeks ago, it was around twelve percent. Now, it's at about six percent.
“I still expect that to go up and down depending on who’s getting tested,” Moreno said.
He said that, in cases of exposure at large gatherings, everyone going to get tested could drive up the positivity rate. So, healthcare workers said that's not necessarily their focus.
“We could look at that, more importantly know, just the basics," Spencer said. "The number’s going up, and it’s very important for us to do our part."
Spencer explained that "doing our part" means trying to slow the rising number of cases. It involves being safe by following public health guidelines by washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing.
Dr. Moreno said that, if people don't Monterey could be next on Governor Newsom's list of counties that might need to reverse course. Moreno said that Monterey County has exceeded the threshold for number of cases, but not for as long as other counties have.
“Many people were not necessarily being as responsible as they otherwise—well, as we would like them to be,” Governor Gavin Newsom said.