SoCal hospitals brace for holiday COVID-19 surge, fearing staff shortages and burnout

Local news

Since the middle of October, doctors and nurses at Loma Linda University Medical Center had been warily watching news reports of a spike in COVID-19 patients in the Midwest. They knew that, sooner or later, their own hospital would be hard hit. They just didn’t know when.

Last week, they found out. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 15 COVID-19 patients were admitted to Loma Linda, in what Dr. Michael Matus, chief of hospitalist medicine, described as “a huge rush of patients.”

“We immediately filled one ward and half of another,” Matus said. “It immediately strained the nursing staff. And then the physicians. We try to keep the physicians seeing up to 16 patients. That day, it was up to 24…. It was our biggest day in the last month.”

A new surge of COVID-19 is battering Southern California, bearing down on exhausted healthcare workers, raising anxiety levels on hospital wards and stoking fears that there might not be enough staff and supplies for the difficult weeks ahead. The coming holidays only make the situation more dire.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Registered nurse Tinny Abogado is seen in November 2020 at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, where she has worked for more than 20 years. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Registered nurse Tinny Abogado is seen in November 2020 at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, where she has worked for more than 20 years. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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