Exhausted health care workers at Mission Hills hospital pushed to the breaking point amid COVID-19 surge

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Friday, December 25, 2020
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Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills has seen the number of COVID-19 patients quadruple since the beginning of November.

MISSION HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Health care workers on the job during the holidays are working desperately to save patients with COVID-19.

Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, located in the hard hit northeast San Fernando Valley, has seen the number of COVID-19 patients quadruple since the beginning of November.

"It's frustrating when you're in for your 12-hour day and then you go home or you see people out maybe not adhering to some of the guidelines," said charge nurse Jenny Carrillo.

"Or maybe it hasn't impacted them personally, so they don't believe that it's real or as bad and that's really frustrating because every day I look into the eyes of someone who's struggling to breathe, who's struggling to get well," Carrillo adds. "They want to be home with their family."

Nurses and doctors have been working nonstop since March. Right now, they are fearful of what may come next.

"We are concerned that if people are gathering, that maybe we will see the surge in the cases, and then after the surge in cases comes the surge in hospitalizations in the next two to three weeks," Carrillo said.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, Holy Cross had 147 coronavirus patients across the hospital's 377 beds. The number of patients is more than double what they saw during the first wave of the pandemic.

Nurses say they're not just exhausted, but angry. Millions of Americans are traveling for the holidays even though they've been urged not to.

Dr. Jim Keany with Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo says he doesn't know how much more the Orange County hospital can handle.

"Our biggest challenge is just taking care of all these patients," Keany said. "On any given day, most emergency departments are already bursting at the seams. So my concern is really resources. Are we going to have the resources to take care of our community?"