Sonoma County hospitals prepare for coronavirus patient surge; no plans to halt elective surgeries

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Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

If Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital starts moving patients from the emergency department to inside the vast white tent outside the hospital, that will indicate the dreaded coronavirus surge has begun.

It’s what county public health officials and health care workers have long feared since the pandemic arrived in Sonoma County in March. So far, Memorial Hospital — the county’s highest-level trauma center — has been able to manage its volume of COVID-19 patients, as have other local hospitals.

“When you see us panic, you’ll know,” said Scott Rocco, manager of Memorial’s emergency department, as he stood Friday outside the white tent covering six medical bays where doctors and nurses would take care of a rush of sick people. Later that day, the county would report 89 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day total.

Late Saturday, the county reported two more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the total to 16 since the pandemic emerged in early March. Details on the two new deaths were not available Saturday.

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