STANFORD (CBS SF) — Stanford Medicine, Stanford University’s department overseeing its medical school as well as its hospitals, said on Thursday that it’s treated hundreds of patients from other regional hospitals to help alleviate the recent crush of COVID-19 patients in the area.

Stanford Medicine transferred and treated over 500 patients from other local hospitals over the past two months, according to Stanford officials. The university accepted the patients because of an agreement it has with hospitals in the region.

READ MORE: Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Touts Basic Income at Mountain View Rally

“We owe it to the broader community to help in this manner,” said Dr. Stephen Ruoss, medical director of Stanford Medicine’s Transfer Center. “Stanford Medicine has robust services supported by numerous and well-trained staff to care for patients, and an obligation to provide those services to care for patients when other hospitals become overwhelmed.”

After the holidays, the Bay Area saw a spike in COVID-19 cases. The crush of new patients has overwhelmed regional hospitals in recent weeks; on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that the region’s ICU capacity had tumbled to 0.7%.

READ MORE: National Park Service Proposes Parking Fees at Popular Bay Area Beaches

“Around Thanksgiving, when the numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients started to increase, some of the other hospitals in the county started to experience difficulties,” said Rudy Arthofer, MHA, RN, associate chief nursing officer. “At that time, the medical director for the county asked hospitals to work on a way to level the patient load across institutions.”

Only some of the patients transferred to Stanford Medicine had COVID-19: out of 548 transfers from Nov. 1 to Jan. 5, 47 patients had COVID-19, and 494 had other conditions, according to Stanford. Additionally, seven were exposed to someone with COVID-19 but their infection status at the time of transfer was unknown.

Stanford officials noted that of the transfers, 135 were within Santa Clara County, and the area continues to be one of the worst for COVID-19. Stanford doctors continue to take patients from outside the University as neighboring hospitals request more help.

MORE NEWS: CVS Stores Roll Out Pfizer Booster Shots Across Bay Area

“Physicians don’t have to accept these additional patients,” Arthofer said. “They already have their own workload. But, universally, the response of our staff has been ‘Absolutely. We’re going to do it because it’s the right thing to do.’”