State Watch

ICU availability reaches 0 percent in Southern California amid coronavirus surge

Intensive care unit (ICU) availability in Southern California has diminished to 0 percent amid the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases.

Medical facilities in Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties all reported 0.5 percent capacity levels Wednesday before falling to 0 percent Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“There are simply not enough trained staff to care for the volume of patients that are projected to come and need care,” Christina Ghaly, Los Angeles County’s director of health services, said Wednesday.

“Our hospitals are under siege, and our model shows no end in sight,” she added.

Health officials have said the ICU availability fluctuates constantly as new patients are admitted or stabilized.

“You hear we’re at 0 percent,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said at a press conference on Monday. “That doesn’t mean we have no ICU beds or staff available at all. It means we’re into a surge.”

According to data collected by the Times, California has broken the record number of new coronavirus hospitalizations for 18 days straight.

Some 393 COVID-19 fatalities were reported Wednesday across the state, breaking the previous record set Tuesday, when 295 deaths were recorded.

California now averages 203 coronavirus deaths per day over a weekly period, with 35,200 daily new cases. The Times added that both figures have quadrupled since mid-last month.

Denise Whitfield, an emergency room physician and associate medical director with the L.A. County emergency medical services agency, said she thinks some medical facility’s capacity could run out if admittance rates continue upwards.

“And the level of care that every resident in Los Angeles County deserves may be threatened just by the fact that we are overwhelmed,” Whitfield said.

The state is reportedly opening temporary field hospitals to help deal with overflow patients.

Tags California Coronavirus coronavirus hospitalizations Gavin Newsom Hospital departments Intensive care medicine Intensive care unit Los Angeles LOS ANGELES TIMES United States

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