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COVID-19 Vaccine Will Arrive in Imperial Valley This Week


The second wave of COVID-19 is hitting the Imperial Valley hard by having more than 2,600 active cases and practically no beds available in the Intensive Care Unit.

It is certainly a dark winter for Imperial Valley as doctors and nurses are working beyond their capacity.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors met on Dec. 15 where Imperial County Health Director Janette Angulo made a presentation. Angulo confirmed that the first box of vaccines will arrive in Imperial County on Dec.16 or Dec. 18.

Once the FDA approves the Moderna vaccine, the county expects to receive the 1,200 dozes by Dec. 22nd and will be received by the health department and the hospitals, Angulo said in her report.

There is also a mobile testing site going around the valley and will stop in El Centro, Calexico, and Brawley that is free of charge.

The capacity at the local hospitals is low right now as Southern California is at a critical level. El Centro Regional Medical Center has 117 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

State of California Officials is warning that Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed capacity for the Southern Region, including Imperial County, continues to drop dangerously low. Currently, the combined ICU bed availability for the Southern Region is now at 2.7%   A Regional Stay at Home Order was implemented for Southern Region counties one week ago; ICU capacity at that time was 10.9%.

“COVID-19 continues to spread and is creating dire situations throughout the State,” shared Dr. Stephen Munday, Imperial County Health Officer. “I can’t emphasize enough the need for everyone to do their part to curb the spread of the virus. A completely overwhelmed healthcare system would be the worst-case scenario that will result in an unnecessary loss of life.  We must do everything within our power to avoid that situation.”

According to Dr. Adolphe Edward, CEO for El Centro Regional Medical Center, “We are seeing very high numbers of COVID positive patients coming into the hospital. We are stretched. We are running out of beds, we’ve experienced staff getting sick, and are out of resources.” Dr. Edward appealed to the community by sharing, “What we need to do is what the public health officials are asking.  Please help us reduce the infection or we will be in a bad spot. Protect yourself, help reduce the spread, help us do what is being asked of you. We know you are all great citizens. Thank you for supporting our public health mandates.”

“It is truly going to require the joint effort of the entire community to stop the spread of this virus,” stated Larry Lewis, Pioneers Memorial Hospital CEO.  “Our numbers at Pioneers reflect the surge in cases and have resulted in support staff being from the state being allocated to the hospital through the 24th of this month, in addition to the EMSA registry staff already assigned through January. At present our 12 ICU beds are full and six more patients are waiting for critical care beds in the Emergency Department. We ask that everyone do their part to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the unnecessary loss of more community members.”

The public is strongly urged to continue the following:

  • Stay at home except for essential activities (i.e., grocery shopping, picking up medication, attending medical appointments);
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • When soap and water are not available, use an approved hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
  • Wear face coverings at all times in public spaces;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • Maintain a safe social distance of 6 feet from others that are not in your immediate household;
  • Avoid gatherings of any size that involve mixing with anyone outside of your immediate household; and
  • Stay informed and follow recommendations from Public Health officials to help you protect the health and safety of your loved ones.

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