Sierra View Medical Center is again at its capacity.

The hospital made that announcement in releasing a press release on Friday sharing information on its COVID situation and policies. The hospital also stated it was “beyond capacity” when it came to its ICU.

Sierra View also stated it will hold a community town hall meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday to provide the latest information on the pandemic. The hospital stated the majority COVID-19 cases now are due to the omicron variant which has driven the latest surge.

Sierra View reported on Friday it had 21 COVID-19 patients and seven patients suspected of having COVID. On Thursday the hospital reported 21 COVID patients and six patients suspected of having COVID. The number of COVID patients has gradually increased at Sierra View.

But for the second straight day the hospital was officially at 100 percent capacity when it came to its ICU beds as all 10 ICU beds were in use.

Sierra View also reported it was above capacity during a surge that happened in early September. At that time the hospital reported it had more patients than the 101 acute hospital beds it had available.

Seeing the surge of the Omicron and Delta variants hitting our hospital and health care systems, we are at capacity. Our ICU is beyond capacity and this is the time that we really need people to focus on getting their booster if they haven’t already done so to avoid hospitalization,” said Sierra View Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Jeffery Hudson-Covolo, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE. More information about the Omicron variant is available from the California Department of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Omicron-Variant-Fact-Sheet.aspx.

It's now recommended for those ages 12 and who received the Pfizer and those 18 and older who received the Moderna vaccine to receive the booster five months after being fully vaccinated. It's also recommended those ages 5-11 to receive the booster 28 days after being fully vaccinated.

For those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine it's recommended they receive the booster two months after being vaccinated.

Booster are available at the Sierra View-Imperial Ambulance community vaccine clinic at the corner of Pearson and Morton. The clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Other locations offering booster shots include CVS at 53 E. Olive.

The importance of receiving a booster shot seems to continue to be demonstrated by the most recent state data although data also could be showing cases of the omicron variant among the fully vaccinated without boosters are leveling off.

As of January 2 the state reported those who are fully vaccinated without boosters are 3.8 times less likely to test positive for COVID than the unvaccinated. The previous week the number was 3.9 times less likely.

But the chance of the fully vaccinated with a booster to be hospitalized seemed to continue to rise, but still considerably lower than the unvaccinated. The fully vaccinated without a booster were 8 times less likely to be hospitalized than the unvaccinated as compared to 10.1 times the previous week and 14.2 times the week before that.

And when it comes to deaths the state reported the fully vaccinated even without boosters were 20.8 times less likely to die than the unvaccinated as opposed to 16.6 times the previous week.

According to state date, Tulare County added 826 cases on Friday. The state reported since March 11, 2020 Tulare County has had 77,769 cases.

The number of active cases also continues to rise as Tulare County Health and Human Services reported the county had 3,293 active cases on Friday.

The state continues to report an increase in hospitalizations in the county, but a significant increase on Friday. Tulare County had 91 COVID hospitalizations on Friday, the state reported, 11 more than the previous day.

The state reported Tulare County has had 1,192 deaths. Sierra View has had 256 deaths due to COVID.

NO MASK. NO ENTRY.

Sierra View continued to state on Friday all patients, visitors and staff at any Sierra View hospital facility or outpatient location are required to wear a mask at all times. Sierra View stated it aligns with guidance from the California Department of Public Health and the recent guidance published on January 5 which states, “…California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status…” This requirement will be updated as CDPH continues to assess conditions on an ongoing basis.”

If patients don't have a mask, they will be provided one.

The CDPH also has issued guidance regarding the best masks to wear.

An effective mask has both good fit and good filtration. A well fitted mask has no gaps between the face and mask, such as above the nose or at the sides,” CDPH stated.

CDPH has ranked masks by level of effectiveness with fabric masks with three or more layers being the least effective; surgical masks rated as effective; KF94, KN95, Double Mask, and Fitted Surgical Masks as More Effective; and N95 masks as Most Effective. Learn more by visiting https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Get-the-Most-out-of-Masking.aspx.

TOWN HALL

Sierra View will hold a town hall meeting for community members providing an update on the pandemic, the state of the hospital and vaccines. The town hall will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Community members are welcome to send questions by emailing marketing@sierra-view.com. Facebook event info is available at https://fb.me/e/2SyiJNRUw.

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