Los Angeles County ‘On Dangerous Track to Catastropic Suffering and Death’ Amid Surging Coronavirus Cases

A medical team intubates a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The COVID-19 crisis hit what Los Angeles County officials called “uncharted territory” Friday, as the daily case count surged dramatically to 13,815 and total cases topped 500,000, the latest signs that the virus is spreading with ferocious speed.

“We’re seeing daily numbers of cases and hospitalizations that we’ve not experienced and, frankly, did not anticipate,” said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Our intensive care unit bed capacity continues to drop. We’re on a very dangerous track to seeing unprecedented and catastrophic suffering and death.”

The avalanche of new coronavirus infections is causing hospitals to see a run on patients and pushing some ICUs to — or perilously near — capacity.

As of Thursday, the most recent day for which complete data are available, there were 3,850 COVID-19 patients hospitalized countywide, including 856 in the ICU — both records.

The number of people hospitalized in L.A. County with coronavirus infections has doubled since Thanksgiving and quadrupled since a month ago, when there were 942.

“The best thing we can all do right now is stay in our homes whenever possible and away from people we don’t live with,” Ferrer said during a briefing Friday.

Officials fear the situation will only worsen as more people who may have been exposed to the virus during the Thanksgiving holiday become sick. There is still hope that the new stay-at-home order will make a difference, but it will take weeks before the effects, if any, become apparent.

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SOURCE: LA Times, Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II

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