LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officials with the county health department expressed concern that the percentage of COVID patients in intensive care units is now higher than it was during the Delta surge.
COVID infections have been wreaking havoc on schools, hospitals and the workforce.
On Friday, LA County Health said that hospitalizations are rising sharply, with an average of 629 more people with COVID-19 being admitted every day.
“…all [COVID patients] require resource-intensive precautions, including isolation rooms, cohorted staff and PPE, and this does continue to represent a substantial strain on the the healthcare system, particularly in light of the staffing that are happening at all of our hospitals,” Director of LA County Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said.
In the meantime, emergency rooms are still overwhelmed. LA County said many hospitals are asking ambulances to divert elsewhere.
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The number of new infections in Ventura County is at a record high, and nearly 25% of people being tested there are positive for coronavirus.
At Adventist Health Simi Valley, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Dingilian said his ER has been unusually busy.
“We have definitely seen a dramatic rise in people coming in for respiratory illnesses related to COVID,” Dingilian said.
Staffing shortages have also been a strain. As many as 60 people, mostly nurses, were out at once at the Adventist Hospital.
“For a smaller hospital, we’re a 144 bed hospital, that’s quite a few staff to be down, and so it challenged us,” Dingilian said.
About one-third of students in LAUSD schools have missed the first days of classes after the winter break. About half of them tested positive. One teacher who spoke to CBSLA said a third of his students were missing from class, and that juggling online and in-person learning has been a challenge.
Walgreens and CVS have both said they’ve had to temporarily close some stores and pharmacies, or adjust hours, because of the staffing shortages.
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LA County, on Friday, also said while it may seem like there’s not much a person can do to avoid catching COVID-19 right now, everyone should still take precautions. They want people to avoid non-essential gatherings for now, especially ones indoors where there are a lot of people.