California hospitals emphasize ‘on the brink of disaster’ by coronavirus surge

The rise of new coronavirus cases and hospitalization is pushing Los Angeles County hospitals to the brink of destruction, a top health official there said.

North of Santa Clara, a doctor said: “What we are seeing now is not normal.”

Every day since Nov. 7, Covid-19 has been hospitalized in California.

As of Thursday, 21,449 Kovid-19 patients were in hospital beds across the state, with more than 4,500 in intensive care units.

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“We are in the midst of a disaster,” said Kathy Chidest, director of the Emergency Medical Services Agency’s Los Angeles County, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the lack of resources and staff.

The amount of oxygen needed for each coronavirus patient is putting a lot of pressure on the hospital, according to Chidaster.

They said the ambulance is also running out while the response time to 911 calls is getting longer.

According to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County recorded the highest number of deaths from coronavirus on the same day after the outbreak began with 290 deaths on Thursday. A higher number of deaths include backlog of vacation and internet service disruption cases.

The director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Dr. “As we see 2020 approaching, we are experiencing extreme conditions in LA County,” Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference. “Our hospitals are overcrowded as more and more people are being taken to hospitals as there has been no reduction in the number of new cases.”

The medical examiner’s office fees, which are accepting overflows from hospitals that don’t have much space in their coffins, are also likely to get help from the California National Guard on Monday.

About a dozen refrigerated storage units, secured in March as part of the county’s “mass casualty plan,” are located on the downtown Los Angeles campus, according to Los Angeles County Medical-Examiner Coroner Office Fees Capt. Emily Tasker.

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The director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Dr. Christina Ghali described the state of the medical facility as “on the brink of disaster.”

Some health department primary care clinics have had to close or reduce their hours because county hospitals are “so unreliably taxed,” Gali said.

More than 700 nurses have been reassigned to fulfill the duties of inpatient units, emergency department, as well as quarantine and isolation beds provided by the health department. All types of health care personnel are being used and the county is requesting additional assistance.

The U.S. has 75 doctors, nurses and staff in the state. Army teams are deployed.

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While none of LA County’s hospitals have formally announced they are operating under “emergency care,” health officials said some Southern California hospitals will be part of the emergency care, including redirecting ambulances when facilities are submerged.

Ferrer warned that data trends would continue until January and hundreds of people would die every week.

“People need to stay home to get rid of the holidays,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“We will still go through our hard and dark days.” “It’s so complicated that we change our behavior. Everyone is doing something but everyone can do more.”

Problems across the state

Doctors in Santa Clara, 45 miles south of San Francisco, are treating some critically ill patients in the emergency room, as there is no space in the intensive care units.

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“Mostly, we can move someone only when a covid patient dies,” Emergency Room Dr Marco Rendazo told a news conference. “Despite these conditions, we come to work for our part,” Rendazo said, urging residents to make sacrifices on this New Year’s Eve, “a lifetime of other experiences to come.”

A total of 27,237 coronaviruses and 428 deaths were reported in California on Thursday. To date, more than 2.5 million Californians have been infected, and 25,000 of them have died.

“What we’re seeing now is not normal,” said Dr. Ahmed Kamal of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “We’re clearly not out of the woods, we’re in the thick of the woods.”

CNN’s Steve Almasi contributed to this report.