Christmas brings little relief to SoCal hospitals struggling with COVID-19 surge

Josh Haskell Image
Saturday, December 26, 2020
Christmas brings little relief to SoCal hospitals
Doctors and nurses on Christmas Day continued to struggle with a surge in COVID-19 patients and dwindling space and resources.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There was no relief or rest for Southern California doctors and nurses on Christmas Day.

A person now dies every 10 minutes from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and hospitals are running out of available ICU beds as well as sufficient supplies of oxygen.

There are now 6,708 COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles County hospitals - a number that has steadily increased to unprecedented levels in recent weeks - as the region's ICU available capacity is listed as 0.0%.

Dr. Anu Seshadri with UCLA Health says although there's not a shortage of supplies in her hospital system, standalone oxygen tanks and plastic tubing are vital to this fight.

"This is what we were fearing. It's supply vs. demand," she said. "We're fearing the demand is going to overtake the supply. That's what going on right now."

Los Angeles County officials are looking into whether a new strain of the virus that's appeared in South Africa and the United Kingdom has made its way here. The new strain is considered more contagious though not necessarily more deadly than earlier strains.

"Given that L.A. is a hub as far as traveling, people coming here to visit, family coming out, schools being present, it wouldn't be surprising if that new strain that was identified in the U.K. is identified here in Los Angeles," Seshadri said.

Doctors and nurses on Christmas Day continued to struggle with a surge in COVID-19 patients and dwindling space and resources.

Much of the recent surge is attributed to gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Health officials have been warning people to stay home during the winter holidays, but millions of Americans are still traveling. On Christmas Eve, the TSA screened nearly 1 million people.

There is also new information coming out about a rare COVID-related syndrome that affects children.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors chair Hilda Solis says the county is seeing an increase in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

She says the county has seen 51 cases of MIS-C, including the death of one child. All of the cases were hospitalized and about half ended up in the ICU.

"It is heartbreaking that every day, more than 14,000 Los Angeles County residents are testing positive for COVID-19," Solis said. "It is even more painful to see an increasing number of children being infected by MISC-C."

"There is a misconception that COVID-19 only impacts those who are older or those with underlying health conditions. At this point in the crisis, we can say for certain that COVID-19 causes severe consequences in people of all ages, including children, and even without underlying health conditions. In Los Angeles County, the Latinx community is bearing the brunt of COVID-19 and MISC-C cases."