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California Hospitals Ordered To Halt Non-Essential Surgeries Amid Massive COVID-19 Surge

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(Courtesy LAC+USC Medical Center)
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California’s hospitals are so slammed with new COVID-19 patients that the state’s public health officer has issued a new order: Medical facilities in regions that have few or no ICU beds must postpone non-essential surgeries and accept patients from other hospitals that have run out of room.

The order covers all the counties in Southern California. It means we could see patients from Southern California moved hundreds of miles away just to get care.

Kevan Metcalf, the chief medical officer at Memorial Hospital of Gardena, told us he’s been asking health officials for guidance like this for weeks. His hospital has 30 ICU patients, but just 10 ICU beds.

“We're really trying to work hard with county EMS to stop sending ALS ambulances to my hospital because I'm over capacity at triple the normal level, whereas the hospital down the street may only be at 100% capacity,” Metcalf said.

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“We need the National Guard, we need any help the state can send,” he added.

Los Angeles continues to see hospitalizations rise day after day. On Tuesday the county set a new record with almost 8,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than one-fifth of those in the ICU.

County officials have warned that hospitals may have to start rationing care if the surge continues for much longer.

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