IMPERIAL COUNTY — The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Imperial County reached double-digits (10) May 6 as total coronavirus-positive cases raced past the 400-mark, reaching nearly 420 cases with the number of people tested expected to soon hit 3,000.
Active-to-recovered cases are nearly even, as some 210 patients were presently ill from the coronavirus and nearly 200 people no longer showed any signs of sickness.
For El Centro Regional Medical Center, dark days could be ahead. On May 5, there were 39 patients admitted to the hospital ill with COVID, the largest number the hospital had seen up to that point, said Adolphe Edward, chief executive officer, during a live Facebook update that morning.
“Even for hospitalizations in San Diego, that number is high,” Edward said.
Edward updated the hospital’s numbers May 7, confirming that COVID-positive admissions was up to 41 of 110 total patients, or 36 percent of the day’s patients.
On May 5 and again May 7, he added El Centro Regional had plenty of supplies and more than enough room to accommodate patients. However, he mentioned earlier in the week that staff was “getting tired,” having dealt with COVID since February, with no end in sight.
“We’re not stopping in the next couple of months,” he said May 5.
Edward then urged residents to take caution. With the Easter holiday (April 12), ECRMC saw an upward trend in COVID cases likely due to family gatherings and celebrations, and he foresees that could be repeated with three holidays in a row: Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day (May 10) and Memorial Day (May 25).
ECRMC officials reported May 6 that Edward will now do daily updates on admissions and to dispel rumors circulating around social media that the hospital is at capacity and running out of room.
Pioneers Memorial Hospital was also experiencing higher numbers of the illness.
The Brawley-area hospital had 18 COVID-positive patients admitted as of May 6, with seven of them on ventilators (23 ventilators were available), according to a Pioneers press release.
Also, Pioneers staff has also been working to convert six additional rooms across three departments to “negative-pressure” rooms to meet isolation requirements for COVID-positive patients.
Staff had previously converted the intensive-care unit and rooms in the emergency department, medical-surgery wing and ultrasound service as well, according to the release.
On a positive note, county Public Health Officer, Dr. Stephen Munday, said during a press conference May 4 that Imperial County had not seen the type of outbreak of illness coming from skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes that the rest of the country has experienced.
Imperial County surveillance data from May 6 show only 36 total cases from those typical age ranges, 70 to 79, and 80-plus.
Most cases that have occurred in Imperial County have been evenly distributed between ages 20 and 49, with 81 total cases (20-29), 86 total cases (30-39) and 75 total cases (40-49), as of May 6.
Calexico continued to lead the county with the highest number of total COVID-positive cases as of May 6, with 118 people, followed by El Centro (105) and Brawley (92).
Meanwhile, in Mexico, the rate of infection is outpacing the Valley. Mexicali reported 69 deaths and 727 total positive cases, with 240 confirmations still pending as the morning of May 7.
For all of Baja California, there were 298 deaths, 1,962 confirmed total cases, and 619 cases pending.
This story is featured in the May 07, 2020 e-Edition.