Madera, Fresno counties declare emergency
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Hospital closure signs are posted outside the entrances of Madera Community Hospital.
Both Madera and Fresno counties have issued a Declaration of Emergency because of the closure of Madera Community Hospital.
On Tuesday, the Madera County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a resolution ratifying and extending the Declaration of Emergency by Sheriff Tyson Pogue, who is also the Office of Emergency Services Director, pertaining to the Madera Community Hospital closure.
Last Thursday, at an emergency Board of Supervisors meeting, Pogue proclaimed an emergency for Madera county due to the significant impact of the closure of Madera Community Hospital, which occurred on December 30.
The lack of hospital services in Madera County is expected to strain local resources deployed within Madera County, thereby depleting ambulance and response resources such as law enforcement and fire. By proclaiming a local state of emergency, OES is formally requesting help from state and federal officials, the statement read.
“We continue to closely monitor this evolving situation,” Pogue said. “The closure of Madera Community Hospital will have widespread effects on our community as a whole. This declaration will request needed resources to support our efforts to continue providing the same high level of service and safety to our citizens in Madera County.”
The Board of Supervisors will continue to analyze options at the next meeting scheduled for January 10.
In addition, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors also proclaimed a local State of Emergency because of lack of beds in the county due to MCH’s closure.
“Board of Supervisors of the County of Fresno does hereby find that a crippling disaster, which severely impairs public health and public safety, is created by conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property which have arisen within said County, due to the multiple infectious illnesses that is exceeding the capacity and infrastructure at hospitals in the County of Fresno,” read the proclamation.
“Due to the closure of Madera Community Hospital, there is a high probability that local hospitals will be further impacted by Madera County residents accessing hospital related care.The normal operating bed capacity for patients in local hospitals has exceeded the maximum available bed capacities and causing critical and ill patients, admitted to the hospital, to be housed and cared for in the emergency department and other areas of the hospital due to the unavailability of beds and staff.
“Local hospitals are modifying conference rooms, offices, and non-traditional spaces throughout the hospital as surge space to use for patient care areas due to the overwhelming number of patients requiring hospital admission and care.
“Due to employee illnesses and the need for additional staffing of surge space at local hospitals, staffing must be supplemented with high cost out-of-area “travel nurses,” causing financial challenges. While additional staffing is needed, many hospitals have opted not to hire additional “travel nurses” because they cannot absorb the cost and there are no available staffed hospital beds within the region and adjacent counties, which would allow local hospitals to decrease the patient load by transferring patients to other hospitals.
The proclamation went on to read that Community Regional Medical Center was recently placed on temporary diversion status and the local EMS agency has requested ambulance providers the “Assess and Refer Policy,” which requires ambulance personnel to preferm an assessment and limit the transport of persons requesting transportation to the hospital that are determined to be non-emergent.
Fresno County says that local resources are inadequate to cope with the effects of the emergency. They proclaim that a local emergency now exists through the county.