Dr. Wilma Wooten doesn’t know what ICU capacity was in 2019
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – During Wednesday’s San Diego County Health press briefing, Dr. Wilma Wooten admitted that she does not even know what our hospital capacity is normally at this time of year.
Saturday via text, KUSI News asked what ICU capacity our hospitals normally operate, since Governor Newsom’s used ICU capacity to issue another lockdown.
San Diego County Health responded saying, “We will get back to you with the number. Don’t have that handy at the press conference.”
KUSI News reached out multiple times since Saturday to get the answer, but San Diego County Health never responded, so we asked again during Wednesday’s County Health Briefing.
KUSI’s Hunter Sowards asked if Dr. Wilma Wooten could compare ICU numbers to last year’s numbers at this time.
Dr. Wooten responded saying she doesn’t know. “I don’t have before me right now any data to compare where we were at the same time last year.”
Dr. Wooten avoided giving any numbers on capacity, instead saying our current capacity is “very close” to where we were in the 2017-2018 flu season.
Just before KUSI’s Hunter Sowards asked the questions, Diane Hansen, CEO of Palomar Health, shared insight about this topic at Saturday’s briefing, but Wooten seemed to have no knowledge of what Hansen said.
Hansen explained the situation at her hospitals amid the rise in cases and hospitalizations. Hansen started off stating, “rest assured that the 2020 beds that were set up months ago are still there, and are ready to go.”
Continuing to explain that they have a “cohort of about 50 nurses on stand by, and in probably a weeks notice, that can be ready to go to staff those beds if we need them.”
Despite Supervisor Fletcher’s fearmongering claim that we will run out of beds by next week, Hansen asserted that they do have capacity. “We are seeing on average about 50 patients per day, less than what we normally see at this time of year.” Hansen said her biggest concern is about staffing the extra beds, if they become needed.
“We have an ability to expand from the dedicated ICU beds from what we currently have, to as many as 110 ICU Beds. But again, the beds are only one solution to that equation, it takes staff in order to continue to operate,” Hansen explained.
These stats come a day after Supervisor Nathan Fletcher presented a dire warning on Twitter, claiming