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COVID Has Southern California ICU Capability at Zero


Dec. 18, 2020 — ICU capability dipped to zero in Southern California’s 11 counties on Thursday, in accordance with the California Division of Public Well being, as coronavirus circumstances continued to climb and public well being specialists warned that the worst is but to come back.

As of Dec 16, complete confirmed circumstances within the state had elevated by 3.1% from yesterday, as much as 1.72 million. Practically 22,000 folks have died within the state for the reason that pandemic started.

What precisely does 0% capability in intensive care items imply?

“It means the entire staffed ICU beds we at the moment have — with out taking extra excessive measures — are full,” says David Simon, a spokesperson for the California Hospital Affiliation.

When a hospital reaches zero ICU capability, the hospital shifts from ”regular” working to ”surge,” he says. Issues may be performed to alleviate the scenario, in accordance with Simon and others:

  • “The very very first thing we are going to attempt to do is convert different beds [to ICU beds],” Simon says. However within the pandemic, the problem is in having sufficient employees to take care of the sufferers in these beds.
  • Sufferers who’re recovered sufficient may be moved to non-ICU beds within the hospital or transferred to non-hospital settings, akin to expert nursing services or residence care.
  • In non-pandemic occasions, sufferers may be transferred to different hospitals. “We do not have that choice right here,” Simon says. “In contrast to a conventional catastrophe, like a wildfire, by definition a pandemic is all over the place.”
  • Medical doctors and nurses from different areas of the hospital, akin to essential care, may be transferred to the ICU if they’ve sufficient intensive care coaching. “That is the scarcity we face — these essential care nurses,” Simon says.

Whereas California legislation says the nurse-to-patient ratio within the ICU may be not more than 1:2, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has introduced that hospitals can ask for the ratio to be elevated to 1:3.

That change met with fierce opposition from the California Nurses Affiliation, which hosted a digital information convention Wednesday warning that rising the ratio may compromise care and result in extra deaths.

In response, the California Hospital Affiliation identified that the waiver is short-term, hospitals should apply for it, and it applies solely to the items during which COVID sufferers are being cared for.

The ICU scenario may turn into worse, public well being specialists warn, particularly if folks proceed to collect and to journey. Newsom has ordered 5,000 physique luggage in anticipation of extra COVID-19 deaths.

In an effort to persuade folks to remain residence and to decrease the toll, the California Division of Public Well being on Thursday launched its “Moms” marketing campaign, Love Means Staying Away, with actual mothers showing on movies urging folks to remain residence over the December holidays and to not have fun with prolonged household. The aim, public well being officers say, is to show as a substitute to digital occasions, like opening presents by way of video calls, on-line cookie baking, and others.

Different state campaigns have used hospital leaders and nurses, Simon says, ”actually begging folks to remain residence this Christmas.”

Even when a hospital’s ICU is at zero capability, well being care specialists say, it is essential for these with essential situations, akin to potential coronary heart assaults and strokes, to nonetheless search assist at a hospital.

WebMD Well being Information


California Division of Public Well being: “California Division of Public Well being Launches ‘Moms’ Promoting Marketing campaign Urging Households to Keep Dwelling throughout Holidays,” “State Officers Announce Newest COVID-19 Information.”

David Simon, spokesperson, California Hospital Affiliation.

COVID19.ca.gov: “Monitoring COVID-19 in California.” 

Information convention, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dec. 15, 2020.

NBC Information: “California orders 1000’s of physique luggage as COVID demise toll grows.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


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