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Kaiser Permanente Doctor: ‘We’re Overwhelmed’ By This Coronavirus Surge

A nurse adjusts her personal protective equipment (PPE) before caring for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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The number of beds available in intensive care units across Southern California has been hovering just north of 10% for the last few days.

In San Bernardino County, it actually hit zero this weekend, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, and hospital staffers across the area are feeling the pain.

Here's Dr. Alex McDonald, who practices family medicine at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center:

“Our resources are being stretched so thin and we are just being overwhelmed. The wait time in the ER is mind boggling, and we’ve run out of beds upstairs in the hospital, so patients are sort of boarding in the ER.”

The hospital has received special licensing to convert some single rooms to double occupancies so more patients can move through the system.
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“There are patients everywhere you look,” said McDonald, speaking on our local news and culture show, Take Two. But the biggest issue is the physical and emotional well-being of the medical staff, because “health care workers are being stretched to their capacity,” he said.

On the positive side, McDonald said he and his colleagues have enough personal protective equipment and other basics to help get through this surge.

For its part, Kaiser Permanente said it has continued to refine its plans throughout the course of the pandemic in response to the changing conditions, including the ability to quickly monitor supplies and resupply medical centers, as needed.

McDonald implored everyone to do their part to curb the spread of this virus:

“Everyone needs to act like they have coronavirus all the time to protect everyone around them — and its those small social gathgerings where people let their guards down that seem to be the real driver of this surge.”

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