Dec. 18, 2020 — ICU capability dipped to zero in Southern California’s 11 counties on Thursday, based on the California Division of Public Well being, as coronavirus instances continued to climb and public well being consultants warned that the worst is but to return.

As of Dec 16, complete confirmed instances within the state had elevated by 3.1% from the day before today, as much as 1.72 million. Almost 22,000 individuals have died within the state because the pandemic started.

What precisely does 0% capability in intensive care items imply?

“It means all the staffed ICU beds we presently have — with out taking further excessive measures — are full,” says David Simon, a spokesperson for the California Hospital Affiliation.

When a hospital reaches zero ICU capability, the hospital shifts from ”regular” working to ”surge,” he says. Issues will be achieved to alleviate the scenario, based on Simon and others:

  • “The very very first thing we’ll attempt to do is convert different beds [to ICU beds],” Simon says. However within the pandemic, the problem is in having sufficient employees to look after the sufferers in these beds.
  • Sufferers who’re recovered sufficient will be moved to non-ICU beds within the hospital or transferred to non-hospital settings, equivalent to expert nursing amenities or dwelling care.
  • In non-pandemic occasions, sufferers will be transferred to different hospitals. “We do not have that choice right here,” Simon says. “In contrast to a conventional catastrophe, like a wildfire, by definition a pandemic is in every single place.”
  • Docs and nurses from different areas of the hospital, equivalent to vital care, will be transferred to the ICU if they’ve sufficient intensive care coaching. “That is the scarcity we face — these vital care nurses,” Simon says.

Whereas California legislation says the nurse-to-patient ratio within the ICU will be not more than 1:2, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has introduced that hospitals can ask for the ratio to be elevated to 1:3.

That change met with fierce opposition from the California Nurses Affiliation, which hosted a digital information convention Wednesday warning that rising the ratio might compromise care and result in extra deaths.

In response, the California Hospital Affiliation identified that the waiver is short-term, hospitals should apply for it, and it applies solely to the items through which COVID sufferers are being cared for.

The ICU scenario might turn into worse, public well being consultants warn, particularly if individuals proceed to assemble and to journey. Newsom has ordered 5,000 physique baggage in anticipation of extra COVID-19 deaths.

In an effort to persuade individuals to remain dwelling and to decrease the toll, the California Division of Public Well being on Thursday launched its “Moms” marketing campaign, Love Means Staying Away, with actual mothers showing on movies urging individuals to remain dwelling over the December holidays and to not have fun with prolonged household. The aim, public well being officers say, is to show as a substitute to digital occasions, like opening presents through video calls, on-line cookie baking, and others.

Different state campaigns have used hospital leaders and nurses, Simon says, ”actually begging individuals to remain dwelling this Christmas.”

Even when a hospital’s ICU is at zero capability, well being care consultants say, it is necessary for these with vital situations, equivalent to potential coronary heart assaults and strokes, to nonetheless search assist at a hospital.

WebMD Well being Information


California Division of Public Well being: “California Division of Public Well being Launches ‘Moms’ Promoting Marketing campaign Urging Households to Keep Dwelling throughout Holidays,” “State Officers Announce Newest COVID-19 Info.”

David Simon, spokesperson, California Hospital Affiliation. “Monitoring COVID-19 in California.” 

Information convention, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dec. 15, 2020.

NBC Information: “California orders 1000’s of physique baggage as COVID loss of life toll grows.”

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