WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- On Monday, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers were told to ration oxygen as Los Angeles County hospitals were struggling to nurse growing cases of COVID-19.
- The county also issued a directive that instructs EMS staff to refrain from bringing in patients (with little chance of surviving) to their hospitals.
- From 400,000 infections in late November, cases recorded in early January surged to more than 800,000.
Several reports claimed that Los Angeles County hospitals are overpowered because of massive COVID-19 patients coming in as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff were asked to provide oxygen on Monday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency released a directive on Monday, saying: “Given the acute need to conserve oxygen, effective immediately, EMS should only administer supplemental oxygen to patients with oxygen saturation below 90%.”
The directive came as hospitals confined over 7,697 infected patients on Monday alone, around 20 percent of which are being nursed in intensive care units. During the start of the COVID-19 resurgence in early-November, roughly 800 patients were hospitalized.
At least five Los Angeles County hospitals have declared an “internal disaster,” implying that they can no longer accept emergency patients. State officials in California announced that they were struggling to secure pertinent supplies of oxygen to aid severe cases of COVID-19.
While other patients receive about six liters of oxygen per minute, COVID-19 patients typically need at least 60 liters per minute. According to L.A. County’s chief medical officer Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, authorities are finding “every possible way to reduce the burden on the hospitals.”
“There’s a lot of actions that have been taken to improve the coordination of identifying patients really needing hospitalization and linking them up to where there’s an available bed, rather than stacking up ambulances outside an emergency department,” Gunzenhauser told the L.A. Times.
The state has recently initiated a state oxygen team. The US Army Corps of Engineers also came to make some reinforcements on the county’s oxygen supplies to cater to the demand.
“The State of California is continuously working to support our hospitals and protect the lives of Californians impacted by COVID-19. By working to upgrade challenged oxygen delivery systems at these older hospitals we can improve the ability to deliver life-sustaining medical care to those who need it,” Director Mark Ghilarducci of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said.
The county also issued a memo last week directing ambulance staff not to bring in patients who technically have no chance to live. Meanwhile, officials have attributed the surge of cases to the Christmas holidays.
Per the L.A. Department of Public Health, coronavirus cases in the county have doubled in roughly one month. There were 400,000 recorded cases on November 30 and last January 2, cases climbed to over 800,000.
Source: Fox News