Officers in San Francisco are asking residents to not name 911 besides in dire emergencies to keep away from additional straining emergency sources, as coronavirus instances deplete the ranks of well being employees, ambulance crews, firefighters and different important employees.

The Omicron variant, which seems extra prone to trigger breakthrough instances even amongst vaccinated individuals, has begun to skinny the ranks of these most wanted to struggle this newest wave of infections. San Francisco mayor London Breed mentioned on Friday that ​​about 400 metropolis staff, together with emergency responders, had both examined optimistic for Covid-19 or had been remoted at dwelling as a result of publicity.

“Solely name 911 or go to the emergency [department] for life-threatening medical emergencies,” the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management tweeted this weekend. “Maintain medics out there for life-threatening conditions.”

Whereas the brand new variant seems to trigger much less extreme sickness, particularly among the many vaccinated, its extremely contagious nature has meant that an increasing number of important employees are contracting the illness, leaving California’s well being and emergency methods critically strained.

California has recorded almost 6m coronavirus instances because the starting of the pandemic in response to state tallies, together with greater than 300,000 new instances this weekend. The each day coronavirus case fee has been larger throughout this Omicron-fueled surge than ever earlier than – with about 145 out of each 100,000 residents testing optimistic. In the meantime, Los Angeles county – which has cumulatively recorded probably the most coronavirus instances within the US all through the pandemic, final week marked its highest single-day whole for brand new instances.

On Friday, the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, deployed members of the Nationwide Guard to assist administer assessments at overwhelmed and understaffed testing websites and mentioned the state will ship out extra Nationwide Guard members this week, amid reviews that residents are ready in lengthy traces for hours to obtain Covid assessments. The deployment would enable strained facilities to conduct extra assessments each day, and assist backfill employees absences.

In the meantime, the state public well being division is weighing whether or not to pause elective surgical procedures throughout the state, as particular person hospitals are already contemplating which procedures to delay as Covid-19 reverberates via ranks of medical doctors, nurses and different hospital employees. This weekend, the well being division issued controversial pointers instructing employees at hospitals and expert nursing amenities who examined optimistic for Covid-19 however had been experiencing no signs to right away return to work.

The rules, which can stay in impact till 1 February, are obligatory “as a result of vital staffing shortages at the moment being skilled throughout the well being care continuum due to the rise within the Omicron variant”, the well being division defined in an announcement. The brand new coverage comes amid report resignations and burnout amongst well being employees two years into the pandemic.

“No affected person needs to be cared for by somebody who has Covid-19 or was simply uncovered to it,” mentioned Gabe Montoya, an emergency room technician at Kaiser Medical Middle in Downey, representing the SEIU-United Healthcare Employees. “Hospital employees can’t take rather more,” mentioned Gisela Thomas, a respiratory therapist in Palm Springs, in an announcement issued by the union.

On Saturday, Newsom introduced a brand new emergency funding bundle, that features $614m to assist hospitals rent extra employees, $200m to spice up emergency response and state public well being capability and $1.2b to bolster testing.

Though the state is now registering excessive numbers of optimistic instances, there are indications {that a} smaller proportion of those instances are extreme – particularly amongst those that are vaccinated. A smaller proportion of coronavirus sufferers now want hospitalization, and fewer are being admitted to the ICU than was the case final 12 months, well being officers have famous.

Nonetheless, unvaccinated coronavirus sufferers have continued to fill hospitals which are as soon as once more shedding the capability to accommodate them. “Each resident can even do their half to guard our well being care personnel and hospitals” by getting vaccinated, mentioned Los Angeles public well being director Barbara Ferrer. “Vaccinated people are between 10 and 30 instances much less prone to want hospital care than these unvaccinated.”


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