Los Angeles County is facing a devastating situation with regard to handling the covid-19 pandemic. Most hospitals are out of ICU beds, and the City has opened church gyms to service Hospital units. County officials have said that Health Care workers are physically and mentally exhausted, and the situation is nothing short of a human disaster.
Experts Say Human Disaster Unfolding In LA Could Get Worse
In Los Angeles County alone, close to 8000 people are hospitalized with covid-19, and about 20% of them are in Intensive Care units. The county has so far seen more than 11000 deaths ever since the pandemic began in March. The situation is so bad that ambulance crews in Los Angeles County have been told not to take patients to hospitals who have less chance of survival.
Health officials have clarified that this order was issued by the county Emergency Medical Services specifically with regards to patients who suffered from cardiac arrest and are unable to be revived in the field. According to health experts, those patients have a very low rate of survival even if they are taken to the hospital.
The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services agency issued a notification to ambulance workers in this regard. According to the new guidelines, patients suffering from cardiac arrest who have fewer chances of Survival should not be transported to hospitals due to the high number of covid-19 patients in the hospitals.
According to the memo, the EMS will try to revive the patient for at least 20 minutes if there is no sign of breathing or a pulse. If the patient is stabilized during the time, they would be taken to the hospital. On the other hand, if the patient is declared dead at the scene or when the pulse cannot be restored, the paramedics will not take the patient to the hospital.
Due to the covid-19 situation, there is a severe shortage of supplemental oxygen, and this means that all the patients who are in need of oxygen may not get enough supply at the right time. Hospitals have been instructed to administer supplemental oxygen only to those patients with oxygen saturation below 90%. The EMS has issued a statement saying that 90% oxygen saturation is enough to maintain the normal circulation of blood to organs and tissues.
A task force has been formed in the last week to boost the efforts of refilling oxygen tanks and getting them to the hospitals and other facilities that are facing a severe shortage in this situation.
The California Department of Public Health said that more than 22000 covid-19 patients were hospitalized across the state. On Tuesday alone, about 368 new deaths were reported across the state due to covid-19. Health experts have said that the increase in cases is likely to continue for some more weeks due to the Christmas holiday parties and extensive travel during the new year season.
Many hospitals are not able to provide rooms to patients, and the patients have to wait for several hours before they get access to a room. The Emergency Medical Services are working hard to send the patients to other hospitals that have some vacancies.
Some ambulance drivers said that they have waited for 3 to 4 hours to get the patients inside the hospital on many occasions. The local officials have urged the public not to use the 911 service unless it is absolutely needed.
As more ambulances are waiting at hospitals to get the patients into the rooms, there are fewer ambulances available to respond to other 911 calls. This has led to a huge delay in attending emergency calls, and experts are warning that the situation may get worse in the near future.