Paramedics having some patients stay home as SoCal hospitals struggle with COVID-19 wave

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Paramedics and emergency medical technicians are declining to transport some less severely ill patients whom they might take to the hospital under ordinary circumstances, one of the many extreme steps being taken in Los Angeles County to deal with the COVID-19 surge crippling hospitals.

It’s one of a limited number of tools left to deal with the wave amid a crisis due to a flood of COVID-19 patients.

In Los Angeles County, EMTs “are assessing patients and releasing them to stay at home, because they aren’t quite sick enough to need hospital-level care. … If they did come to the hospital, they may not get the type of attention that they might expect,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California health and human services secretary.

Many hospitals are now going to contingency care, in which staffers work longer hours and wards are reconfigured to take more patients. The next step could be “crisis care,” in which more medical rationing would occur.

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