Top San Francisco General Doctor Warns of the Worst Condition of the City Amid the Pandemic

4 mins read

A San Francisco hospital that has been a hub of COVID-19 response is moving into the red tier of restrictions as part of its surge plan due to the massive spike of patients, filling up nearly all of the establishment’s intensive care unit beds.

As of Sunday evening, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital recorded 63 coronavirus patients being admitted. Out of all the patients, 11 were placed in intensive care due to the severity of their symptoms. The hospital has overflowed its capacity of ICU in the post-anesthesia care unit, potentially forcing officials to open other parts to COVID-19 cases.

Surge of COVID-19 Patients

The San Francisco General recorded a peak-high of 48 COVID patients since the beginning of the pandemic. “We have probably seen the surge from Christmas, but we haven’t seen the full effect of New Year’s gatherings. We worry the effect of New Year’ is still going to reflect over the next few days,” said the chief of emergency medicine, Dr. Christopher Coldwell.

Cowell noted how the hospital had to refuse to admit patients from other counties due to the severe lack of space. “We are still admitting more than we are discharging, which is obviously not sustainable long term,” he said. However, the medical professional said that despite their capability to care for patients, the increasing number of admissions was starting to become overwhelming.

The surge plan allows officials to use resources that were previously allocated elsewhere to help COVID-19 patients. Hospital officials are working together with the city to support their residents. Some front line workers are starting to become overfatigued due to the rising number of patients.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years; the shifts have never been harder. That takes energy and resources. It’s taking its toll on everybody. I’m so proud of the people I work with and doing the job they do every day,” Coldwell said.

One silver lining the hospital looks at is that 98% of its healthcare workers working with COVID-19 patients have been vaccinated. Many of the inoculated personnel are receiving their second doses of the treatment, the San Francisco Gate reported.

Coldwell said his team was being motivated by members of the San Francisco community and the public that have been supporting and cheering them on. “We’re going to need a lot of that over the next eight to 12 weeks,” he said.

The medical professional had only one message for the public, which was to not let their guard down while the pandemic was still ongoing. “It’s way too early for that. People are seeing the vaccine get out there. I know everyone is desperate to get to some semblance of normal life. It’s too early for that. The message: Yes, 2021 is going to be better. I feel confident about that. We need to keep taking the critical precautions. The mask-wearing and the social-distancing really needs to happen. The limitations on groups, that’s where we’re seeing things happen, particularly people getting together indoors,” Coldwell argued.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.