Some SoCal hospitals already at capacity amid COVID-19 surge

Hospitalizations in California are surging, raising concern about how hospitals will handle the expected crush as some are already at capacity.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hospitalizations in California are surging, raising concern about how hospitals will handle the expected crush as some are already at capacity.

The COVID-19 forecast by Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for a hospital nightmare just in time for Christmas Eve.

Newsom said if the current trend continues, ICU beds are expected to be at 112% of capacity by mid-December.

In Southern California, the ICU capacity is expected to hit 107%, and some hospitals are already at full capacity.

RELATED: Coronavirus was likely in US as early as December 2019
EMBED More News Videos

Learn more about coronavirus symptoms and other helpful information during the COVID-19 pandemic.



"Both of our medical centers, 100% of our beds are being used," said Dr. Alp Arkun, the assistant medical director for Kaiser Permanente San Bernardino, which runs hospitals in Fontana and Ontario.

The facilities there have seen a 220% increase in COVID-19 patients over the past four weeks.

But even though every bed there is filled, Arkun says the hospitals are ready to double up patients in rooms if they have to.

"We are looking at every lever, every possibility, every nook and cranny utilized maximally, leveraging our entire system of all of our medical centers in Southern California in order to maintain safe, quality patient care," Arkun said.

All across Southern California, hospitals are prepping and bracing for even worse numbers in this holiday spike. In Los Angeles County, its hospitalization numbers are surging, with 2,316 people now hospitalized for COVID-19, and about a quarter of those in the ICU.

The Hospital Association of Southern California on Tuesday told Eyewitness News its hospital bed capacities are currently sufficient at most of its hospitals, but "occupancy varies by county - and even within a given county - hospitals are experiencing disparate impacts."

"This pandemic is once again surging, and its spread is expected to be worse than ever at a time when supplies remain hard to come by," a statement from the association said in part.

"We are currently overcapacity at ICU, so we are overflowing to another area of the hospital," said Dr. Bernard Klein, the chief executive of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

Klein calls the COVID-19 spike a super surge, and over the holiday weekend, his hospital was forced to turn patients away.

"We have so many high acuity patients, both up on the floor and in the ER, that we wanted to make sure that we could take care of them safely," Klein said.

Key to preventing a hospital overload is early treatment. Experts warn that those who wait too long before seeking treatment have the hardest time beating COVID-19 and spend more time in the hospital.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.