State Public Health Officer Issues Order on Hospital Surge

On Tuesday, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón issued a state public health officer order to reduce pressure on strained hospital systems and redistribute the responsibility of medical care across the state so patients can continue to receive lifesaving care amid unprecedented COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The public health order requires some non-essential and non-life-threatening surgeries to be delayed in counties with 10 percent or less of ICU capacity under the Regional Stay-at-Home Order where the regional ICU capacity is at zero percent. Examples of procedures that may be delayed include carpal tunnel release and non-urgent spine surgeries. Surgeries for patients who have serious and urgent medical conditions will continue.

The order additionally requires hospitals statewide to accept patient transfers from facilities that have implemented contingency or crisis care guidelines as long as those transfers can be done capably and safely.

The full order is available here. A CDPH press announcement is available here.