The rising number of new coronavirus cases across California has pushed the hospitals to a breaking point. The medical staff are working round the clock on most occasions and some people say that the situation is nothing short of a war in California.
The latest surge was seen after the Thanksgiving event and the state has so far recorded more than 1.9 million cases and close to 22000 deaths. The new cases are setting records every day and the ICU beds in hospitals are running to full capacity. The last few weeks have become the darkest days of California’s covid surge.
Covid Cases Pushing California Hospitals To Breaking Point
Governor Gavin Newsom has urged residents to avoid traveling and maintain social distancing during holidays. The stay-at-home order is due to expire at the end of the month and it is likely to be extended given the rising number of cases.
The situation is so bad that the Governor himself had to go into quarantine twice in the last few months. He is currently under quarantine after one of his staff members tested positive for the virus. The Los Angeles Unified School District said that their campuses would be closed after Christmas. The Rose Bowl football event is moving to Texas due to the rising number of cases in California.
The hospitals have already received the Pfizer vaccines and many health care workers have received the doses last week. Another vaccine developed by Moderna is also sent for distribution and it will be available soon for the health care workers. Hospitals are forced to stop semi-elective surgeries as they are getting a huge number of Covid related cases on a regular basis.
Experts point out that the hospital system in California is built with a surge system mindset which means that if a major catastrophe happens in one part of the state, hospitals in other regions stand ready to take the burden. But the situation is so bad that all the regions are equally affected after the Thanksgiving event.
Several doctors are also concerned that some patients are not visiting hospitals when they experience symptoms related to heart attack and stroke which can be dangerous in future. The non-coronavirus patients are afraid to visit hospitals during this stage as the hospitals are overflowing with Covid patients.
The medical staff are stretched beyond their capacity for the last few weeks and they are not having backup from other sources. The only good thing for the medical staff is that they now have access to a vaccine that will at least protect them from getting infected while treating covid patients. They are now able to treat the patients without worrying about getting infected.
The surge is so high that more than 16000 patients were admitted to the hospitals last weekend and this is more than double the peak of July. The state is seeing more than 150 deaths every day.
The state has about 8000 ICU beds and half of them are occupied by non-covid patients. Among the remaining 4000 ICU beds, about 3500 beds are currently occupied and only few of them are remaining. Doctors are worried that they may run out of ICU beds in the next week and it will push the hospitals to a difficult situation. Some counties are already dealing with this situation and they have run out of ICU beds.
As usual, the black community is disproportionately affected along with other people of color and they are finding it difficult to access proper medical care. In several rural counties, the healthcare is dependent on small clinics and they do not have enough equipment to treat covid patients.