Sara Rubin here, looking at my calendar and how irrelevant a note I made a month ago has become. Maybe, like me, you had marked today, Jan. 11 on your calendars. On mine, it was the date on which I wrote: “SIP ends(?).” The question mark was answered on Saturday by California Department of Public Health officials who noted that on a regional scale, the San Francisco Bay Area (which includes Monterey County for purposes of hospital capacity analysis) does not have sufficient ICU beds available to allow for a lifting of stay-at-home restrictions.
I listened this afternoon when Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Health & Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly shared remarks via livestream, hoping to get some sense of where we are headed. Their news leaned positive, but only tentatively so—and only because it’s less bad than it has been. (Life in a pandemic has a funny way of moving the needle on what qualifies as “good” or “bad.”)
Statewide, the number of hospitalizations of Covid-positive patients has increased by 6 percent over the past two weeks. “That’s among the smallest increases we’ve seen,” Newsom said. “It’s a point of some optimism, a little bit of light.”
The light is that it’s less bad; the dark is that it’s still bad, and it’s still not over. Ghaly noted that there were 2,500 hospital admissions in the state yesterday—better than 3,500 daily in the preceding weeks, but still a devastating number. And even as hospitalizations decrease, new case counts continue to rise, 11 days out from New Year’s gatherings. “We are still concerned that over the last week we’ve seen some high case numbers,” Ghaly said. “I don’t think that we’re out of the woods. We are still focused on the middle of this month and end of this month as peak times for hospital numbers.”
I don’t have a new end date on my calendar, because I don’t know when it might be. I do know things are likely to keep getting worse before they get better. At least we’ve shown ourselves we know how to hunker down and be patient for the it-gets-better part.
-Sara Rubin, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org