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Morning Brief: ICU Nurses Hit Breaking Point

The Entrance to the emergency room at the Community Hospital of Huntington Park has signs posted throughout warning patients of new measures being put in place due to COVID-19. Chava Sanchez/Laist
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Good morning, L.A.

As coronavirus cases in the county continue to surge, ICU nurses are reaching the end of their ropes, physically and emotionally.

Speaking with local hospital workers, my colleague Jackie Fortiér uncovered a culture of exhaustion and hopelessness, with some nurses deciding to quit the profession altogether and others hanging on by a thread.

"All the nurses [are] burning out," said Jun Jai, who works at L.A. County-USC Medical Center. "Every day you go, it's nonstop running from morning to the evening. You can see so many nurses have depression."

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Jai is still going into the ICU for his 12-hour shifts, but Chanel Rosecrans, who worked as an overnight ICU nurse at a San Gabriel Valley hospital, hit her breaking point. She quit the hospital for a job at a plastic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills after seeing one too many tragedies this year.

"Before work I would pray 'til I cried, begging God, please [don't] let me lose a patient tonight,” she said. “I can't take it."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

What You Need To Know Today

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County yesterday recorded another 75 COVID-19 deaths, the highest number in a single-day without a reporting backlog since July. And there were more than 9,000 new cases reported on Wednesday.

California Kids: We hear from several local community college students who have had to postpone their studies because of the pandemic. California and L.A. County both reversed course and will allow outdoor playgrounds to stay open in regions under stay-at-home orders.

Law Enforcement v. Protesters: On his first full day in office, District Attorney George Gascón ordered that a charge be dropped against a protester – but the deputy DA he instructed to drop the charge refused. A Long Beach police officer who fired a 40 millimeter foam projectile during a protest and struck our correspondent Adolfo Guzman-Lopez in the throat has been found to have acted within policy.

L.A. Stories: A new drive-in is opening in Los Angeles itself, rather than on the outskirts, and will be featuring indie movies. Storytellers Angela Sanchez, Matt Sedillo and Jin Yoo-Kim joined Unheard L.A. host Bruce Lemon, Jr. and Race in L.A.'s Dana Amihere to dig into the early life experiences that make us who we are.

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