There is a growing sense of dread in hospitals across Los Angeles County and the rest of California that the already grim conditions are about to get much worse and that the coming holidays could bring yet another surge of COVID-19 patients.
There were 16,843 COVID-19 patients in California hospitals Saturday, and 3,614 of them were in intensive care units, according to data released Sunday by the state — a huge increase from two months ago, when there were 2,291 patients and 657 in ICUs. On Saturday, Los Angeles County hospitals were treating the largest share of patients: 5,709, with 1,175 in ICUs.
Availability of ICU beds in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley remained at zero Sunday.
A doctor at an L.A. County public hospital said the number of COVID-19 patients is “increasing exponentially, without an end in sight.”
Many parts of that hospital are being converted to COVID-19 wards, and ICU teams are being staffed up with workers from other departments that are temporarily halting services. The doctor, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity, said it appears that by early January, the hospital will have to begin rationing care.
“We’re going to be New York, with bodies piling up. Wouldn’t be surprised if L.A. rings in the new year as the COVID capital of the world,” the physician said. “I don’t know how many ways to explain to people to isolate and stay home, short of bringing a camera to the ICU and [emergency department] to show them the mess of what we’re experiencing.”
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