San Andreas, CA…On Friday, August 27, 2021, Officials from Calaveras Public Health and Mark Twain Medical Center reported a significant increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations this week. By Thursday, August 26, 2021, Mark Twain Medical Center neared capacity. The hospital typically operates with an average daily census of 9 patients. As of Thursday, there were a total of 17 inpatients, 6 of those patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19. An ongoing staffing shortage threatens to worsen the situation if numbers continue to grow.
Staff are working hard to keep up with the current surge as administration searches for additional help. Mark Twain Medical Center’s President and CEO, Doug Archer, has requested additional resources and traveling medical professionals with little success.
“Many hospitals are experiencing similar situations when trying to bring in relief staff. We’re all going to the same well but the well is quickly drying up,” said Doug Archer. “Our hardworking hospital staff are wiped out after almost two years of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Archer. Members of the public are still encouraged to seek healthcare at Dignity Health clinics for non-emergent medical care. Mark Twain Medical Center requests that patients who need to go to the hospital, limit their visit to a single caregiver to avoid overcrowding. The hospital will continue to triage patients while operating near capacity.
The county’s low vaccination rate may be a contributing factor to the rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations. The current vaccination rate in Calaveras County among fully vaccinated eligible individuals falls below 50 percent (47.92%) compared to the rest of the State of California (65.8%). An approach to reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations is centered around vaccination and other approaches such as masking and physical distancing. People can schedule a free COVID-19 vaccine appointment by visiting myturn.ca.gov.
“The tools we have to fight against COVID-19 such as vaccination, masking, and social distancing are right in front of us, but stopping the further spread of COVID-19 is led by the community,” said Dr. René Ramirez, Calaveras County Health Officer. “What we’re seeing across this nation is that the vast majority of hospitalizations are happening among those who remain unvaccinated. Calaveras County ranks among the lowest
vaccination rates in the State of California. Nevertheless, it is not too late to get vaccinated.” added Dr. Ramirez.
Earlier this week, the FDA announced its approval of the Pfizer vaccine. While millions have already safely received the COVID-19 vaccine, including thousands of people living in Calaveras County, the FDA approval will provide added confidence to get vaccinated.
In addition, the recent air quality advisory issued by Calaveras Public Health and the Calaveras County Air Pollution Control District worries public health officials as smoke from area fires may worsen health outcomes of those infected with COVID-19.
Calaveras Public Health urges that everyone take steps to protect themselves against COVID-19 including anyone not fully vaccinated, children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated yet, and those with weakened immune systems. The best way to protect yourself and others is to:
Wear a mask in public indoor settings
Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19
Stay at least 6 feet from others
Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing signs, seek emergency care immediately:
New confusion or weakness
Bluish lips or face
Persistent pain or pressure in the
Inability to wake or stay awake
Due to a surge of COVID-19 infections, Calaveras Public Health is currently prioritizing cases. Calaveras county residents who test positive are encouraged to self-isolate and follow isolation instructions even if they are not contacted by local public health staff.
For information about testing and vaccination visit the Calaveras County COVID-19 website. https://covid19.calaverasgov.us/