‘Long on fear, short of gear’: California hospitals wait for coronavirus surge

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A worker at Eisenberg Village, an assisted living facility in Reseda conducts screenings for people with coronavirus symptoms in March 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

A worker at Eisenberg Village, an assisted living facility in Reseda conducts screenings for people with coronavirus symptoms in March 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Nurses, doctors and thousands of medical workers inside California hospitals are already struggling through intense days — and intense emotions — as the wave of expected COVID-19 patients turns from a distant shadow to a roaring peril.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says more than 140,000 people in the state might need a hospital bed by the end of May, with about 26,000 requiring a high level of care — a scenario that predicts nearly two months until a peak. As of Friday, California had more than 12,000 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, with nearly 2,200 people hospitalized and 900 in intensive care.

So far, even as Los Angeles becomes a hot spot for the highly infectious pathogen, the number of serious coronavirus patients at most facilities in Southern California has been in the dozens. It’s a lull leaving ominously empty wards and frayed nerves.

“It’s like a pressure cooker,” said a nurse at UCLA. “Long on fear and short of gear.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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