At Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, the breaking point came Sunday night.
There was not one available bed for at least 30 patients who needed intensive or intermediate levels of care, and the hospital had to shut its doors to all ambulance traffic for 12 hours. Some patients, including the very sick who required intensive oxygen, experienced wait times as long as 18 hours to get into the intensive care unit.
The front entrance of Community Hospital of Huntington Park was closed to the public Monday; the back of the building saw a steady stream of ambulances over the weekend, with one security guard saying the vehicles arrived as frequently as every half hour.
And Memorial Hospital of Gardena on Monday was running at 140% capacity, forcing officials to ask for a four-hour suspension of new ambulance calls so it could move patients. The hospital is struggling to keep enough oxygen and supplies on hand amid the crunch of COVID-19 patients who need it.
“It’s a crisis — there’s no doubt about it,” said Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Kevan Metcalfe. “And they just keep coming.”
Click here to read more.