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Monday, January 18, 2021

In California, ICUs and morgues are filling up

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In California, ICUs and morgues are filling up
In California, ICUs and morgues are filling up

Southern California is so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that patients are backed up trying to get into hospitals, and bodies get stuck in another logjam once they leave.

This report produced by Jonah Green.

Southern California is so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that patients are backed up trying to get into hospitals, and bodies get stuck in another logjam once they leave.

At one hospital in Orange County, ambulances loaded with patients are lining up outside waiting for space in the intensive care unit, and COVID-19 patients fill the emergency room hallway.

In other hard-hit areas like nearby Los Angeles County, where people are dying of the disease at the rate of one every eight minutes, refrigerated trailers will be brought in to provide extra storage capacity for bodies.

Dr Jim Keany is an ER doctor at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo: "What happens is when we get filled up with COVID patients, we can't take care of the community in general.

And that's our concern as we do fill up.

So what we're seeing is we become overwhelmed with COVID patients, every bed is full, every nurse and doctor is occupied taking care of COVID patients.

And then we struggle to service the community for standard emergencies." Despite strict stay-at-home measures that were set across most of the state last month, California, the most populous state with nearly 40 million people, leads the United States with nearly 2.6 million COVID-19 cases, over a million more than the next state, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

Its death toll of more than 28,000 trails only those of New York and Texas.

Orange County officials had previously allowed hospitals to divert patients elsewhere when they were full, but now that virtually all the hospitals have reached capacity that policy has been rescinded.

Dr. Robert Goldberg is a pulmonary and critical care physician at Providence Mission: "The issue now is that there's so many patients coming in that we don't have the time like we had before.

So it's good that we have the experience now and we're able to treat these patients, but the numbers of patients that are coming in is becoming overwhelming." Dr. Goldberg appealed to the public to help reduce the spread.

"COVID is real.

It's life threatening.

People of all ages are dying.

We need to work together.

We need to get through this together.

We need to wear masks, socially, isolate, get the vaccine when it's available and at some point we'll get this under control and move on.

But we all need to do this together."

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