Major hospitals, including Kaiser, postpone non-urgent operations in January

Kaiser Permanente has announced that it is postponing “elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures” until Jan. 4 at its Northern California hospitals, as the increase in COVID-19 cases continues to pack hospital rooms and ICUs.

Other Bay Area hospitals, including the Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose and the John Muir Medical Center in Concord and Walnut Creek, have issued similar statements. Sutter Health, which operates hospitals and surgical centers in Berkeley, Antioch and Burlingame, has not made any formal announcement, but it is keeping a close eye on the situation, a spokesman said Monday.

On Christmas Day, California surpassed 2 million cases of coronavirus as the country continued a holiday weekend of family gatherings that could exacerbate the worst pandemic so far. By Sunday, the Bay’s ICU capacity was 11.1 percent.

The John Muir Medical Center is surgically canceling until January 10 in its operating rooms and cardiac catheterization laboratories that require a hospital bed.

“The re-creation of all elective measures and procedures enables us to redeploy greater flexibility with staff resources to areas of our hospitals where it is most needed, as we continue to see an increase in COVID-19 patients,” the statement said.

The stopped Kaiser procedures do not include cancer cases, suspected cancer cases or other urgent surgeries and procedures, “as well as any situation in which the postponement of an operation will have a negative effect on the patient’s medical condition, including pain,” Kaiser Permanente confirmed by email to the San Jose Mercury News.