LA County surpasses 5K COVID-19 hospitalizations for first time, reports 4 new cases of MIS-C in kids

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County broke its record for the number of people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, reporting more than 5,000 on Friday.

The county announced a total of 5,100 hospitalizations, along with 96 new deaths and 16,504 additional cases of COVID-19. Four additional cases of the coronavirus-linked multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, known as MIS-C, were also reported.

Of the people currently hospitalized, 20% of them are in the ICU.

"Since Monday, L.A. County has reported more than 71,000 new COVID-19 cases; an acceleration of cases never seen before in our community," L.A. County Department of Public Health said. "As case numbers continue to surge, the total number of individuals who will become seriously ill or pass away will also increase."

Health officials say the current rate of hospitalizations is accelerating at an "alarming speed."

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Mayor Eric Garcetti said hospital officials are telling him and his staff that if Los Angeles continues on its upward trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations through Christmas, the medical facilities will "go under."

Meanwhile, the four new cases of MIS-C brings the total cases in L.A. County to 49. All 49 children diagnosed with the rare disease were hospitalized. Last week, the county confirmed one child died from MIS-C, the first such death in the county.

In late October, Los Angeles County health officials reported a total of 43 known cases locally.

The impact of the virus surge on the emergency medical system was made clear Thursday morning, when the state announced that the 11-county Southern California region had formally reached zero capacity in intensive-care units.

The designation does not mean there are no beds available, since the state adjusts the capacity figure based on the ratio of COVID-19 patients occupying ICU space.

L.A. County reported there are approximately 699 available hospital beds, including 69 ICU beds. Hospitals have been forced to open ICU beds in different departments and staff is stretched thin.

Meanwhile, California has become the latest coronavirus epicenter. The state reported 190,000 COVID-19 cases over the past four days.
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