People hospitalized in Sonoma County with the coronavirus reached a pandemic high point over the weekend, with 46 patients being treated in hospitals on Sunday, according to county and state data.
More than half of those hospital patients suffering with COVID-19 are at Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals.
Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s health officer, said Monday the spike in coronavirus-related hospitalizations is a direct result of large outbreaks at 16 of the county’s 20 skilled nursing centers. Also, at least one local hospital received COVID-19 patients from San Quentin State Prison, she said, without identifying the hospital or how many inmates from the prison in Marin County were treated there.
“This is completely linked to skilled nursing facility outbreaks,” Mase said, during a press briefing. “That’s where a majority of hospitalizations or many of the hospitalizations are coming from.”
Two weeks ago, Sonoma County landed on the state’s watchlist, joining a slew of other counties struggling to contain virus transmission. That triggered state-mandated rollbacks of public health restrictions temporarily halting indoor dining and drinking at restaurants, brewpubs and wineries and shutting other businesses like personal care salons and gyms. Mase said Monday, although she needs more time to monitor whether the second wave of restrictions is helping suppress the virus, she sees no need for additional closures.
Area hospitals are also having difficulty discharging patients back to skilled nursing centers, she said, which is causing them to remain in the hospital longer even though they no longer need care there. Local hospital officials say many local skilled nursing sites have stopped taking patients because of all the COVID-19 outbreaks at these facilities.
Of the local patients hospitalized on Sunday, 28 were at Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals, which are operated by Providence St. Joseph Health Sonoma County.
Christina Harris, a spokeswoman for Providence St. Joseph Health, said hospitalization numbers change daily but she would not reveal updated figures for Monday, citing patient privacy rules.
On Sunday, Santa Rosa Memorial had 16 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, with 4 of them in the intensive-care unit, according to the state’s COVID-19 hospital online dashboard. Petaluma Valley Hospital had 12 virus patients, with 3 of them in ICU, state figures show.
The state’s hospital figures are based on a daily survey of hospitals conducted by the California Department of Public Health. The online dashboard does not list specific hospital names, but it does provide a geographic location of each hospital with a corresponding number of patients. Based on that, local hospitals easily can be distinguished.
Harris said the growing number of COVID-19 patients at Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals is a reflection of the overall recent escalation in coronavirus…