'Don't share your air': Coalition of medical professionals pleads with public as COVID-19 cases surge

Officials with Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health spoke at a virtual news conference designed to encourage Californians to stay home during the holidays.

It was a call to action asking the public, "Don’t share your air. Wear a mask."

"Right now we are struggling," says Dr. Vanessa Walker with Sutter Health.

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The situation at some of these hospitals is really challenging. At Downey Kaiser Permanente some 278 people are hospitalized there and about 70% have COVID-19. In the ICU 95% are COVID patients.

In Southern California, the ICU bed occupancy at their 15 hospitals is at 106% which includes COVID and Non-COVID patients.

Officials say if we do at Christmas and New Years' what we did at Thanksgiving this is going to get worse. The current surge they say is from Thanksgiving.

Greg Adams says, "We’re struggling to add capacity to covid patients as we speak." Adams is the Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. He says he’s looking for 1400 more people to be hospitalized by the end of the week at his hospitals. "And, numbers for our California Medical Centers at Kaiser Permanente are projected to possibly increase between two and three thousand over the next month should nothing change."

At Downey and some other hospitals, they are adding beds to surgery and recovery rooms even in the hallways. Travel is just another way for the virus to get around.

Dr. Vanessa Walker says you’re the front line when it comes to stopping the spread. She says, "We are asking you to please do your part and continue to avoid gathering indoors - avoid sharing your air...take it outside and do whatever you can do... be creative in order to share these holidays."

Meanwhile, Dr. Rishi Sikka with Sutter Health says, "Think about what the holidays will be like in 2021. Think about the different place we’ll be in one year. And, all those sacrifices we’re asking for these small sacrifices will be so worth it."

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