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COVID-19 stress is pushing the LA hospital to 320% occupancy



While the new COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County recently launched, many medical facilities remain congested. The intensive care unit at a South Bay hospital, Gardena Memorial Hospital, has 320% occupancy, officials said on Wednesday.

The 172-bed medical center has been at various levels of “internal disaster status” since March, and the latest outbreak of coronavirus has manifested itself in alarming but increasingly familiar ways – including a lack of oxygen supply to the home, -1

9 patients and maintenance of occupied beds.

Oxygen demand at the hospital has also risen, according to hospital spokeswoman Ami Boersma.

“The bulk supply of oxygen has changed once a month every three days and is shrinking,” Boersma said in an email. “We have to watch every day.”

But staff shortages are the biggest challenge. In a region besieged by COVID-19, “it remains very difficult to find enough nurses for the intensive care unit,” Boersma said, adding that the hospital was looking for traveling nurses across the country and had also requested resources for National Guard nurses. .

While the hospital awaits additional care, it has introduced a team structure that allows closed ward staff, such as same-day outpatient surgery, to help alleviate workloads and allow intensive care nurses to focus on the most important tasks.

The hospital also uses advanced registered practicing nurses and assistants to complement the 10-bed intensive care units and emergency departments and provide “a different set of hands and eyes,” Boersma said, along with hiring last year’s medical students. sisters.

Nearly two dozen patients in need of intensive care are also being treated on the telemetry floor and in recovery rooms, she said.

And although ambulances with critically advanced life-sustaining patients are diverted, as most will need to be admitted to the intensive care unit, Boersma said requesting a diversion can only do so much.

“When most hospitals are diverted from ALS, no one is diverted,” she said.

Los Angeles County Hospitals report an average of 750 to 800 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per day, an astonishing number that has remained largely stable since Christmas Eve. The census effectively exceeded the capacity of the intensive care units, and the hospital morgue was so full that the National Guard was called in to help move bodies to the district investigator’s office, while funeral homes and morgues could not work through the backlog.

There are still fears that new hospitalizations may increase again as a result of winter holidays. If this happens, Los Angeles County hospitals may need to provide care by activating teams of triage staff who will need to decide which patients should receive critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and ventilator access, and which patients are given palliative care at death.

Dr. Christina Gally, director of health services in Los Angeles County, said the number of hospitalizations has dropped somewhat in recent days – just under 8,000.

Although they did not increase at the rapid pace seen earlier in the jump, “they caught up with a speed that is not really sustainable,” she said at a briefing on Wednesday. “This high plateau does not leave enough open beds to care for patients.”

This is especially the case, Gally said, as the county has not yet determined the full consequences of potential post-holiday exposures. Any increase in transmission, she warned, “would be absolutely devastating to our hospitals.”

“In order to have any significant relief for health care providers, we need a rapid and significant drop in hospitalizations over a period of at least one to two months,” she said.

The county still reports an extremely high number of new infections – more than 15,000 a day, on average – and officials say some of those with a positive test will invariably need hospital care two to three weeks later.

As of Tuesday, the most recent day for which full state data is available, 7,906 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized in Los Angeles County, with 1,699 in intensive care.

Although both figures have remained relatively equal or even declined slightly, Gally stressed that they remain “unprecedented in the course of this Los Angeles County pandemic and everyone should continue to worry about what might happen” if they continue to Are Increasing.

Any optimism must also be conditioned by the reality that the post-holiday broadcast remains unclear, she added.

“If the number of our cases continues to be so high and even rising, it portends very bad for hospitals,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in Los Angeles County.

Unless conditions improve, Ferrer said the county may follow further restrictions – especially given the looming threat posed by the new coronavirus variant, first discovered in the UK and considered even more contagious.

“At the moment, we are considering all possibilities,” she said. “We are very, very worried about the continuing large number of cases and we feel that there really is no huge window here to try to control the wave.”

According to her, the stake is literally life and death for many – and all Angels must redouble their efforts to protect themselves.

“Do it as if your life or the life of a loved one depends on it,” she said. “Because you just can.”




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