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El Centro Regional Medical Center low on ICU beds

ECRMC preparing for holiday travel repercussions - News 11's Wiley Jawhary reports

IMPERIAL, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - With more than 53-million people traveling this past holiday weekend, concern is growing about the potential spread of COVID-19 across the Imperial Valley. El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) has already seen an increase in hospitalizations.

This year Thanksgiving holiday travel went back to normal setting a pandemic record that is close to how travel was in 2019.

However it came with a price, ECRMC says they’re seeing an increase in hospitalizations to the point where they’ve had to increase their intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity.

29 patients are on ventilators at ECRMC and Chief Executive officer Dr. Adolphe Edward says this doesn’t include Thanksgiving patients. 

“We know that the numbers are going to continue to rise based on the models,” he said.

ECRMC is desperately turning to the state once again for help.

“The respiratory therapy team has asked us to increase the number of respiratory therapists, so we have asked the state for support, which means we will be using a lot more ventilators,” he said.

On top of that the Omicron variant is spreading in countries around the world. Health experts across the valley are racing for answers on how dangerous this variant could be.

"That is information that is still pending, as we see more cases and more data, we will learn a little bit more," Karla Lopez, an Epidemiologist with the Imperial County Public Health Department said.

Alyssa Ruiz is an Imperial County resident, she says that she is starting to worry.

“Yesterday I saw it on the news and saw Biden talk about it, he said it was pretty bad, and now I am considering getting my booster”, she said.

Cases across the valley have increased slightly after Thanksgiving, but not like last year, at least not yet.

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Wiley Jawhary

Wiley Jawhary is from Orange County California. He joined KYMA/KSWT in April of 2021.

Reach out to Wiley with story ideas and tips at wiley.jawhary@kecytv.com.

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