California hospitals are talking about rational care as the virus grows

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Overcrowded hospitals in California are installing makeshift beds for coronavirus patients, and a handful of severely affected facilities in Los Angeles County are developing contingency plans if they need to limit the number of people receive rescue care. .

The number of people hospitalized in California with confirmed COVID-19 infections is more than double the previous peak in the state, reached in July, and a state model predicts that the total could reach 75,000 patients by mid-January.

The rationing plans are not yet in place, but they must be established because “the worst is yet to come,” said Los Angeles County Health Director Dr. Christina Ghaly.

While vaccine deliveries are being made to many health workers and nursing homes across the country, it could be months before the photos become available to the general public. Until then, four hospitals run by Los Angeles County are weighing what to do if they can’t treat everyone because of a lack of beds or staff.

A recent document released by doctors at the four hospitals suggested that instead of trying to save every life, their goal could be to rescue as many patients as possible – meaning that those least likely to survive will not receive the same type of care.

“One compromise of the standard of care is inevitable; it is not about an entity, system or locality choosing to limit resources, but it is clear that resources are not clearly available to provide care on a regular basis, ”the Los Angeles Times document said.

Many hospitals in California have already implemented emergency procedures to expand staff and space.

The Corona Regional Medical Center, southeast of Los Angeles, has transformed an old emergency room to handle nearly double the usual number of intensive care patients. It also uses two disaster tents to sort patients urgently.

Overall, the state’s ICU capacity was only 2.1% on Sunday. Some hospitals have canceled non-essential elective surgeries, such as hip replacement, which could occupy beds that may soon be needed for COVID-19 patients.

Nurses say overcoming cases means they have less time to spend with patients, many of whom are sicker than they have ever been.

“The more patients we have, the greater the risk of making a mistake, especially if we are in a hurry,” said Wendy Macedo. a nurse at UCLA Health Santa Monica Medical Center. “Obviously we’re trying to avoid this, but we’re just human.”

CVS and rival Walgreens began offering photos last week at some long-term care locations in Connecticut and Ohio, and both companies said they will expand their programs to 12 states starting this week. These states include Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Vermont, CVS Health said Monday.

CVS intends to make three visits to each site to give residents and staff their initials and then a reminder. He expects to complete the program in about three months.

Also Monday, President-elect Joe Biden received the first dose of vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public that vaccinations are safe.

Biden received a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his home in Delaware, hours after his wife, Jill Biden, did the same. The injections came on the same day that a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, will start arriving in the states. He joins Pfizer in the nation’s arsenal against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 317,000 people in the United States and turned the world upside down.

But with vaccinations limited to spring or summer, political leaders continue to urge people to stay home and wear masks.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked airlines flying to his home state of the United Kingdom to have all passengers take a coronavirus test before boarding. At least one airline, British Airways, agreed, the Democrat said.

Cuomo wants US government to temporarily suspend flights in the UK due to the emergence of a new strain the virus in that country.

Scientists are working to determine if the strain is spreading more easily, said Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser for the US government’s COVID-19 vaccination effort.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced new social assembly restrictions on Sunday, but refused to implement a masked mandate, despite demands from front-line health workers. Tennessee, one of the twelve states without a masked mandate, is facing the largest new per capita cases in the country.

Instead of a masked mandate, the Republican signed an executive order limiting public meetings to 10 people. However, places of worship, weddings and funerals are exempt.

With more than 2,300 virus patients hospitalized in Alabama and ever-increasing cases, health officials have issued new pleadings to take precautions.

“Our ICU is full and I am praying for a Christmas miracle,” Dr. James Boyle, a pulmonologist in Decatur, said Monday. “I hope the forecast models are wrong. I pray that the number of infections and deaths will decrease after Christmas ”.


Associated Press writers Tom Murphy of Indianapolis, Kimberlee Kruesi of Nashville, Tennessee and John Seewer of Toledo, Ohio, contributed to the report.