Mayor Eric Garcetti said hospital officials tell him and his staff that if Los Angeles continues the upward trend of COVID-19 hospitalization through Christmas, medical facilities will “go under,” meaning they will not be able to serve properly. appropriate coronavirus patients or patients with other conditions.
He also said that an emergency order could be issued at county level if hospitals are flooded with patients.
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“Some hospitals can convert non-intensive care units (intensive care units) into intensive care units, but other hospitals cannot,” Garcetti said, adding that ambulances sometimes need to be redirected if a hospital is in capacity.
An emergency statement, he said, could force the county to take tougher action on businesses and order other closures to ensure that “we don’t have to have those awful visions of doctors deciding who gets the last ventilator and who doesn’t.” . ‘
Garcetti said that if current trends continue in the next three to five weeks, the county’s health system “will have nothing left.”
He said an initiative has been launched to provide thousands of Los Angeles residents who need $ 300 to buy food during the holidays, with funding from the mayor’s fund for Los Angeles, which allocates $ 550,000 to the initiative.
People who want to donate for the effort should go to mayorsfundla.org/covid19 for more information, he said.
The dramatic rise in coronavirus – which on Wednesday saw Los Angeles County set daily records for new cases, deaths and general hospitalizations – is forcing other officials to urge people to heed warnings to avoid rallies and continue social distancing and masked clothing. .
“Based on the science of COVID-19 transmission, the devastation we are experiencing now is due to the fact that people who were unknown to be infected with the virus have been in close or direct contact with another person or group long enough to infect them. “County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said:” It may have occurred at work or when people outside the homes they did not live on vacation with traveled or visited, either here in the county. either in another county or in another state or in another country. “
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As new infections, hospitalizations and deaths generally reflect the actions taken by people two weeks ago – based on the incubation period of the virus – health officials said the number will continue to worsen in the coming weeks.
Dangerous trends COVID-19 threaten to overwhelm emergency departments and intensive care units, officials say.
“Indeed, what we need to focus on now is that each of us, our family and friends, our colleagues and colleagues are doing what is necessary to slow down the spread of this infection as quickly and as widely as possible.” said Davis. … There is only too much risk in terms of the number of cases in the community that are diagnosed every day. We are already seeing the impact it has on our health care system, as well as the number of reported deaths. “
Although vaccines are being given in Los Angeles County and across the country, officials said it will not stifle the current wave of cases and will not be widely available to the general public for months.
“The science of COVID-19 transmission also indicates that transmission takes place more easily in crowded spaces, with many people nearby, close contact settings, especially if people have conversations very close to each other and indoors. or poorly ventilated enclosed spaces. he said. “And the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher in places where these three conditions overlap.”
The impact of the virus’s rise on the emergency medical system was highlighted on Thursday morning, when the state announced that the region of 11 counties in Southern California has officially reached zero capacity in intensive care units. The designation does not mean that there are no beds available, as the state adjusts the capacity figure according to the ratio of COVID patients occupying the ICU space.
ICU capacity drops to 0% in Southern California, while state reports 379 new deaths, record high
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, as of Thursday, there were only 716 beds available and available in the 70 hospitals that received 911, which have emergency departments. Only 92 of those available beds were beds for the ICU, compared to an estimated 102 on Wednesday.
County hospitals have a total licensed capacity of about 2,500 ICU beds, and hospitals have increased staff to operate at about that number in the past week.
Last week, county hospitals operated an overall average of about 10,360 non-ICU beds per day, based on physical space and available staff. In general, hospitals are allowed to operate approximately 17,000 non-ICU beds, but this number is restricted by the availability of staff to treat patients.
The county reported a total of 4,864 COVID patients in hospitals on Thursday, up by about 200 from the previous day and the highest level of the pandemic. About 20% of these people were in ICU beds, or about 973. The state’s website on Thursday earlier counted the county’s COVID hospitalization number at 5,100.
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“Our hospitals are under siege, and our model shows no purpose,” County DHS Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said on Wednesday, adding, “The worst is still ahead of us.”
Ghaly said hospitals had an average of about 600 coronavirus admissions a day, up from about 500 last week. Based on current trends, hospitals could be admitted anywhere from 750 to 1,350 new COVID admissions per day by the end of December, she said.
On Thursday, the County Department of Public Health reported 102 additional coronavirus deaths, although four of them were actually announced Wednesday by Long Beach health officials. Long Beach reported four more deaths Thursday afternoon, while Pasadena announced three more. The new deaths have given the county a total of 8,671 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
The director of public health, Barbara Ferrer, said that the average daily deaths caused by COVID-19 in the county have increased by 267% since November 9, reaching 44 per day since last week and probably even higher this week, having given the recent rising death toll. Ferrer said he is equivalent to two people in the county who die from COVID-19 every hour.
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Another 14,418 COVID infections were confirmed in the county on Thursday. Long Beach officials reported another 993 cases Thursday afternoon, while Pasadena health officials announced a daily record of 201 new infections. The new cases raised the cumulative total at county level to 581,519.
County officials said the local transmission rate for COVID-19 – the average number of people each COVID-positive person infects with the virus – is now 1.2, up from 1.16 a week ago. Whenever the rate is above 1, the number of cases is expected to increase.
The county also estimates that one in 80 residents who are not hospitalized or in quarantine / isolation are infected with the virus, probably without knowing or showing symptoms, yet still able to infect others.
The Southern California region – which covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties – is under a state-imposed regional state ordered ban on meetings of people from different households and forced the closure of many businesses, while restricting capacity to others.
Schools with exemptions may remain open, along with “critical infrastructure” and retail stores, which will be limited to 20% of capacity.
Restaurants are restricted to delivery and delivery service only. Hotels are allowed to open “only for critical infrastructure support”, while churches would be restricted to outdoor services only. Entertainment production – including professional sports – would be allowed to continue without live audiences.
The order will remain in force until at least December 28.
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City News Service contributed to this report.
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