Central Valley hospitals scramble for oxygen machines, brace for lack of space for bodies

California

Officials in Fresno County are scrambling for oxygen-making machines to care for the rising tide of those sick with COVID-19, as the number of bodies has placed greater pressure on funeral homes.

Officials in California’s 10th most populous county say the situation is not as severe as that in Los Angeles County. But health authorities officials are seeking to ease pressure on hospitals by sending home COVID-19 patients who would normally stay in the hospital — and to do so, they’re searching for machines that can generate oxygen for patients at home.

“It’s a very grave scenario to make that decision,” said Fresno County interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra. “Because under normal conditions, under ideal conditions, everyone who needs oxygen would be admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, we’re operating in a disaster and so we don’t have that luxury, and we have to make really hard choices and do the best that we can.”

Vohra said he was on the hunt to track down some oxygen concentrators — machines that can create oxygen out of air. “We’re trying to do as much as we can to track down the supplies that will be needed just to prepare ourselves for an even larger number of patient volumes in the weeks to come.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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