ICUs clogged on the way in, morgues on the way out in California's COVID crisis

(This January 8 story clarifies in 5th paragraph that ambulance delay occurred at a separate hospital) By Lucy Nicholson MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (Reuters) - Southern California is so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that patients are backed up trying to get into hospitals, and corpses get stuck in another logjam once they leave

Reuters January 12, 2021 04:11:14 IST
ICUs clogged on the way in, morgues on the way out in California's COVID crisis

ICUs clogged on the way in morgues on the way out in Californias COVID crisis

(This January 8 story clarifies in 5th paragraph that ambulance delay occurred at a separate hospital)

By Lucy Nicholson

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (Reuters) - Southern California is so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that patients are backed up trying to get into hospitals, and corpses 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 nearby Los Angeles County, where people are dying of the disease at the rate of one every eight minutes, and other hard-hit areas, refrigerated trailers will be brought in to provide extra corpse-storage capacity.

"When we get filled up with COVID patients, we can't take care of the community in general," said Dr. Jim Keany, 54, the managing partner for emergency physicians at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. "Every bed is full, every nurse and doctor is occupied taking care of COVID patients."

One patient waited in the ambulance more than five hours at another nearby hospital before being admitted, Keany said.

Despite strict stay-at-home measures that were fortified 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.

With the bodies accumulating, the California Office of Emergency Services said it has arranged to send 88 trailers to needy areas around the state.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office headquarters will receive 10 morgue trailers, in addition to 12 set up there in April, said spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.

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, resulting in long waits for treatment, Keany said.

"We are pushing our carpenters and facility people to an extreme in trying to build out space where we can manage patients," Keany said.

Dr. Robert Goldberg, 44, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Providence Mission Hospital, called on the public to help reduce the threat by wearing masks, maintaining social distance and getting the vaccine once it becomes available.

"COVID is real. It's life-threatening," Goldberg said. "People of all ages are dying. We need to work together. We need to get through this together."

(Reporting by Lucy Nicholson; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Jane Ross; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by William Mallard)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.