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Morning Brief: ‘Please Help Us’

Clinicians work after manually proning a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sharp Grossmont Hospital on Dec. 14 in La Mesa. At the time, state ICU capacity was .5%. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A.

For health care workers in Southern California’s ICUs, the onslaught of pandemic patients is nonstop. On a call with our newsroom's local news and culture show, Lindsay Burrell, a nurse in the ICU at Torrance’s Providence Little Company Mary Medical Center, pleaded for Angelenos to adhere to coronavirus safety guidelines, just for a little longer:

"This is my plea to the public … stay home. I know you're tired. Trust me, I know … but if we don't start complying, our hospitals are not going to be able to meet the demands of what the public is giving us. We simply cannot.

I'm exhausted, too. But we as healthcare providers, we're feeling this. We're putting on PPE day in and day out, you know, we're hot, we're tired. We're not drinking water. We're not really even eating normally, throughout a normal day. We're exhausted.

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Please, just do your part. Please. This is what is recommended and we just, for a temporary moment in time, need to comply ... Please help us. We're begging at this point."

Burrell’s appeal comes at a time when ICUs in the region are completely full, the rate of infection is breaking records almost daily, and our local public health director had to fight back tears while talking about the virus’ death toll.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s up to us how dark things get before then.

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

What You Need To Know Today

L.A.’s Coronavirus Crisis: County health officials reported over 11,000 new cases of coronavirus and 56 new deaths, as the total number of deaths in the region approaches 9,000. L.A. hospitals are being stretched so thin that we could be looking at rationed care in the not-too-distant future. Record levels of coronavirus cases in L.A. County are trickling down to child care facilities.

Local Lockdown: Right now, 98% of California is under a stay-at-home order that will likely be extended past its current expiration date of Dec. 30. It’s safe to go grocery shopping, but be fast and efficient — and of course, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Money Matters: Congress’ $900 billion COVID-19 relief package includes direct payments to many Americans, a federal boost to weekly unemployment checks, and assistance for small businesses and schools — but no financial help for struggling local governments, including L.A.

California Dreaming: With the door open to apply for DACA for the first time in more than three years, hundreds of high school and college students are rushing to submit their paperwork.

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Here’s What To Do: Attend a solstice livestream, check out Christmas movies at the drive-in, enjoy some holiday cocktails, and more in this week’s best online events.

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