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As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Rise, California Directs Hospitals Statewide to Accept Patient Transfers to Support Health Care Delivery System

Date: August 16, 2021
Number: NR21-253


SACRAMENTO – In response to increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU patients due to the highly contagious Delta variant, and to support the state's health care delivery system, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today issued a new public health order requiring hospitals statewide to accept transfer patients from facilities with limited ICU capacity when clinically appropriate. The order will take effect August 18, 2021.

"We are continuing to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of COVID-19 and are taking action to ensure the state's health care delivery system is prepared and can respond should the situation worsen," said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "Today's action will make sure all patients in California continue to receive appropriate care."

Today, California reported 7,166 COVID-19 hospitalizations and will likely surpass 7,200 hospitalizations in the days ahead, which was the highest number experienced during last year's summer surge of cases. However, the state's COVID-19 hospitalizations are still far below the overall peak of nearly 22,000 experienced during the January 2021 surge.

The state has learned from previous surges in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that preparing early through statewide coordination is the best course of action. While the state works to further increase the number of eligible Californians vaccinated, we must take steps to protect the unvaccinated who are more at risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Today's action will ensure the state's health care delivery system is prepared and can respond appropriately.

Governor Newsom today issued an Executive Order that extends the state's ability to waive licensing and certification requirements for out-of-state medical personnel supporting the state's COVID-19 response through the end of the year. The order also grants regulatory flexibility to respond to the ongoing pandemic.

California has administered more vaccines than any other state with more than 45 million doses administered and over 78 percent of those eligible having received at least one dose. However, the state is seeing increasing numbers of individuals – overwhelmingly unvaccinated – contracting COVID-19 and being admitted to the hospital and ICU.

California remains committed to increasing vaccination rates and urges businesses and local communities to encourage both vaccination and vaccine verification.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free and available to all Californians age 12 and up. Go to or call (833) 422-4255 to schedule an appointment or go to to find a walk-in clinic in your county.​

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