Availablity of intensive care units in the region dropped from 0.5% on Wednesday to 0% on Thursday.
The state’s latest figures paint a dire picture for the region, with hospitals pushed their limits as case numbers continue to surge. On Wednesday, the cumulative percentage for the 11 counties making up Southern California—Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura—was at an alarming 0.5% ICU beds available. Just a day later, it dropped all the way to 0%, according to California’s Department of Public Health.
ICU capacity by region:
• Bay Area: 13.1%
• Greater Sacramento Region: 11.3%
• Northern California: 25.8%
• San Joaquin Valley: 0.7%
• Southern California: 0.0%
— CA Public Health (@CAPublicHealth) December 17, 2020
While this is extremely alarming, officials explained that the percentage is adjusted downward if the proportion of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is higher than expected. The number is constantly changing to reflect the number of new and stabilized patients.
On a state level, 52,000 new cases were reported 379 deaths were reported on Thursday, breaking a new single-day record. Meanwhile, L.A’s numbers have dropped ever so slightly but are still worryingly high with less than 100 ICU beds available. However, these are reserved for non-COVID patients.
COVID-19 Daily Update:
December 17, 2020
New Cases: 14,418 (580,325 to date)
New Deaths: 102 (8,664 to date)
Current Hospitalizations: 4,864 pic.twitter.com/HL1loxYbT2
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 18, 2020
Although the vaccine has arrived in L.A. on Monday and has already been given to 300 frontline health care workers, it will still be months before it’s released on a wider scale.
EMERGENCY ROOM LINES: With so many hospitals in Orange County at capacity, paramedics are being forced to wait outside with their patients just to get into the emergency room. https://t.co/wgnM1DBFLp pic.twitter.com/BPHWPzjSzL
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) December 17, 2020
Until that happens (and proves successful), frontline workers continue to endure the relentless pressure as health care centers are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. In particular, Orange County is showing signs of reaching breaking point with ambulance diversions suspended. As reported by CBSLA, paramedics are forced to tend to patients on the pavements as they wait for spaces to become available.
Featured image: Bret Kavanaugh via Unsplash