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Newsom Requests Medical Staff From Feds as ICUs ‘Reach Breaking Points’

Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference Monday that ICU capacity continues “to reach breaking points across the state,” posing “real challenges” to hospital staffing.

Newsom and California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said they are anticipating a substantial increase in the already surging number of COVID-19 cases in hospitals.

The governor is requesting additional federal medical teams to help fill the need. He’s asked for 200 more medical staff from the Department of Defense, and has spoken with Vice President Mike Pence about extending the duty of disaster medical assistance teams in Imperial County, who are due to redeploy elsewhere this week. Newsom has also requested resources and staffing to build another field hospital.

“We are worried that certain regions do exceed their existing capacity and even may go beyond the existing surge capacity that they currently have planned,” Ghaly said.

In other coronavirus news, Newsom said the state received more than a quarter million doses of the Pfizer vaccine today, and has already received the first round of vaccine doses from Moderna, the second vaccine to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Newsom said the Moderna vaccine is easier to store and to distribute in rural areas because it doesn’t require the ultra-cold temperatures the Pfizer vaccines do.

— Katrin Snow

Copyright 2020 KQED