SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Over the last three weeks, Sacramento County hospitals have seen a dramatic uptick in COVID-19 patients. The county is now one of three in the region trying to find a way to bend the curve again.

“We’ve gotten 400-500 cases in the last five to six days, which is more than we’ve had since the beginning of the pandemic,” Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of the Sacramento County Department of Health Services, said.

The Sacramento County surge has state health officials on alert. Dr. Beilenson said the county currently has about 61 coronavirus cases in the hospital, 14 of whom are in the ICU. According to Beilenson, hospitalizations have jumped from eight cases to 61 in just three weeks. That’s nearly an eight-fold increase which put the county on the state’s watch list. 

The list, Beilenson said, means different things to different counties. In Sacramento County that means dialing down large family gatherings, which contract tracing shows were behind the most recent outbreak.

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“What the state has requested of us is to do outreach to that community particularly, rather than the different businesses, because it does not appear to be the businesses that are part of the problem,” Beilenson said.

But there is some promising news. He says when it comes to surge capacity, the county has 813 beds and to date, none of them have been used.

As people across the county continue to battle cabin fever and message fatigue ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Dr. Beilenson says moving off the watch list ultimately comes down to modifying your own behavior.

In addition to Sacramento County, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties are all being monitored in our area. In all, approximately 15 counties are on the state’s watch list.