ICU Mattress Availability Statewide Drops To 2% – .
At the end of a week in which health officials recounted dire scenes from hospitals across California, it is revealed that available ICU capacity in the state has dropped to just 2%. That’s an amazing statistic given 40 million people in the midst of a pandemic.
California announced another 41,000 positive test results on Friday. With that, the US state with the most infections is far away. The daily new infections in the second and third largest US states do not add up to California’s total. Texas’ latest count had it at 14,805 and Florida on Friday was at 13,148. Together that is around 28,000 compared to 41,012 in the Golden State.
The lack of intensive care units was prominent all week. On Friday the chief medical officer of one of the largest hospitals in LA said, “We are going to be dejected.”
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Dr. Brad Spellberg of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center said his facility was playing music beds and trying to expand the ICU capacity.
“Most days of the last week we hadn’t opened intensive care beds in the mornings,” said Spellberg, “and we had to mix things up -” can we bring this patient here “,” can we move this patient “there … We are already expanding care Areas of the hospital in which we normally do not offer this type of care. “
Orange County’s intensive care units appear to be doing even worse as they hit a low of 0% earlier in the week.
By late Monday, Southern California fell to an all-time low of just 1.7% of remaining ICU bed capacity. By Tuesday evening, availability had dropped to just 0.5%. By Wednesday, the available beds in the intensive care unit in LA-bordering Orange County had dropped to 0%. By Thursday the capacity was 0%.
The state reported a grim 300 deaths. As difficult as this number is to take, it will certainly go much, much higher given the current case and intensive numbers.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that hospital officials told him and his staff that if Los Angeles continued its upward trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations through Christmas, medical facilities would “go under”, which means they will cannot adequately care for coronavirus patients or patients with other diseases.
He also said that a “system-wide crisis” may need to be declared and a nationwide emergency order issued if hospitals remain inundated with patients.
“Some hospitals cannot convert[intensive care unit] Intensive care rooms but other hospitals do not, ”Garcetti said. The addition of ambulances sometimes needs to be rerouted when a hospital is at full capacity. That’s when there’s capacity elsewhere. Some southern California ambulances had to wait 5 and 7 hours outside the emergency room to deliver patients.
An emergency statement, Garcetti said, could force the county to take stricter measures on businesses and order other closings to ensure that “we don’t have to have the harrowing visions of doctors deciding who gets the last ventilator and who doesn’t. “
Earlier this week, a consortium of powerful unions representing teachers (UTLA), nurses (California Nurses Association), health care (National Union of Healthcare Workers), grocery (UFCW 770) and hotel workers called for something similar. In particular, the unions urged the LA County Board of Supervisors to “issue instructions at home for” the first four weeks of January “strict enough to truly quell the virus by closing all non-essential businesses and activities in the county.
Garcetti said Thursday that if current trends continue for the next three to five weeks, the county’s health care system “will be bogged down”.