New coronavirus cases in the Bay Area have leveled off or dropped recently as the post-holiday surge attenuates, and hospitalizations have followed suit.
Dr. Ahmad Kamal, director of health care preparedness for hard-hit Santa Clara County, says he’s “very cautiously optimistic” as the number of COVID-19 patients having to be admitted to hospitals has slightly dropped.
How it works, Kamal says, is that first cases drop, then hospitalizations.
"So the last thing to change are deaths," he said, "which is one reason why we are still seeing, unfortunately, a significant number ... ."
All over the Bay Area, the number of COVID-19-related deaths is still high. Kamal says some hospital morgues, though still very crowded, at least haven't seen an increase in the rate of bodies they received over the last two weeks.
Kaiser Permanente has 15 hospitals in the Bay Area. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Parodi, the clinical lead for Kaiser’s coronavirus response, says that over the past week facilities have seen about a 15% to 20% drop in new COVID-19 hospital admissions.
But Parodi says people still have to wear masks and keep distant from each other.
"Don’t share your air," he said.
The best news, perhaps, comes from San Francisco General’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lukejohn Day: "Over the last day or two, it’s been the first time we’ve had no admissions to the hospital of COVID patients," he said.
That is something all hospitals aspire to.