Hospitals fear of another post-holiday COVID-19 surge

Shying away from any family Christmas gatherings this year Jenn Adriatico-Westad said COVID was 99.9% the reason for staying home for the holidays.

"It’s just for everyone’s safety. We just don’t know what’s going on out there."

That’s what doctors like hearing because they see every new case as another ICU bed they don’t necessarily have. Dr. Matt Waxman is an ER physician at Olive View UCLA. Like other hospitals the place is packed. He says getting together for holiday parties between now and the new year is a bad idea.

"The worst is not over. If we have a holiday season where people are getting together and one person infects another who infects two things are going to get really bad. We might have to start rationing care," Dr. Waxman said. 

Dr. Bernie Klein is the CEO of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center where there are 154 COVID patients... an all time high.

"We have 49 patients that are ICU status and we only have 24 ICU beds so, we’re overflowing into other areas of the hospital. In addition, we now have patients we are now treating in our hallways," he said. 

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 And, what’s worse he says, "We still haven’t peaked and that’s what is so scary."

In recent days, hospital official after hospital official have told us their fears of a post Christmas/New Year’s surge. Erik Wexler is the CEO of Providence Hospitals in Southern California. He says, "I can’t say enough how important it is to only congregate with people in your household that you live with or you may not see other people that join you ever again."

Bill Caswell is the COO of Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California region. He tells us, "We are gravely concerned that the Christmas holidays will bring families together. They could even accelerate the spread of the COVID pandemic. Those are really genuine concerns."

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Especially given what’s going on at local hospitals. Take Providence St. Mary’s in Apple Valley where patients are being cared for in such areas as the lobby and other overflow areas.

"There are tents in the parking lot and they’re setting up more in anticipation of a potential surge on top of the surge," Dr. Klein said.

Klein makes a point to say, "COVID is so prevalent in our communities right now you have to assume somebody has it."

That’s what Chris Lodter of Simi Valley might have been thinking when his family decided to have a Zoom Christmas celebration instead of an in-person one. Of COVID-19 Lodter says, "It’s very scary right now. The fact that the numbers are worse and the hospitals are full we didn’t feel comfortable even getting with our own family."

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