The omicron surge is pushing local hospitals to capacity, and at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Willowbrook, patients are lining up down hallways, as there’s a shortage of staff dealing with the influx of COVID-19 patients.

“The rates of hospitalizations are still pretty high and the number of people currently in hospitals is at an all-time high, particularly in the ICUs,” said Dr. Peter Chung, medical director at UrgentMED Urgent Care Clinics.

Chung, who oversees doctors across 35 UrgentMED clinics, said now is not the time to get sick, as “access is a big problem at this point.”

“We’ve also had to turn away patients at times simply because of the volume of patients that are coming in is so large,” he said.

Doctors asking those without severe symptoms to stay home.

“There are other people who are going to get sick from other illnesses that aren’t preventable. These are the people — they have a heart attack or stroke that can’t necessarily be prevented — these are the people who need the beds in the hospital,” Chung said.

Meanwhile, elective surgeries and other important diagnostics are being put on hold longer than hospital officials had expected.

“It’s going to take some people a week or two to recover from the illness. Staffing levels need to come back up. Things need to stabilize. I personally don’t see things stabilizing for another one to two months where full hospital services will be reinstated,” Chung said.

In the meantime, doctors are recommending people wear high-grade masks, including N95 and KN95 masks, and the LAUSD is banning the wearing of cloth masks at school.