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Grim Milestones And Negative Airflow Hospital Rooms: COVID-19 Update For July 20-24

Saint Agnes Medical Center
Dr. Gene Egerton is Chief Medical Officer of Saint Agnes Medical Center

This week, California hit a grim milestone: it now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases of any state in the country, a record perhaps inevitable given that it is also the country’s most populous state. Nonetheless, hospitalizations and ICU rates continue to rise statewide, and here in the San Joaquin Valley, as in the rest of the state, the disease has now infected more than 1 out of every 100 residents. 

This COVID update for the week of July 20-24 features excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Gene Egerton, Chief Medical Officer of Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, about how his hospital is meeting the region’s growing capacity needs and protecting other patients and providers from the disease. We also discuss the outbreak in the Fresno County Jail as well as UC Merced’s plan for fall education and a proposal from Kern County to use federal funding to hire nurses for the county’s hospitals.

A snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication): 

  • As of July 23: 486 deaths out of 40,546 cases; 980 people hospitalized and 200 in ICUs 
  • As of July 16: 434 deaths out of 29,785 cases; 787 people hospitalized and 145 in ICUs
  • In the last week, 52 people in our coverage area succumbed to the disease. In the week before, the total was 50.
  • Average cases reported daily in the last week: 1,537 
  • You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.


Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
Kathleen Schock is the host of Valley Edition. In the show, Kathleen and the Valley Public Radio news team explore issues that matter to the residents of Central California through engaging conversations and in-depth reporting.
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