The COVID-19 surge and its strain on the hospitals

Doctor Marwa Kilani is the Medical Director of Palliative Care at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. She and her team have the tough job of end of life care for COVID19 patients at the hospital.

Kilani says, "It’s can be awful."

The CEO of the hospital is Dr. Bernie Klein who says, "This is a very very trying time for our staff." Klein says as more patients come into the emergency room hospital beds are filling up although, at the moment, they still have enough to do the job, at least for now. Klein calls the current situation a "super surge". He says, "I’m calling it a super surge because as of today we are seeing more COVID-19 cases than we’ve seen in the entire 9 months and there’s no end in sight. I believe this is a surge on top of a surge."

Klein says they can turn any kind of hospital bed into a critical care one, but that’s the case at this point in time. He says, "At least at this point in time we’re able to meet the needs. And, therefore I don’t want people to delay their care." 

But, those words "AT THIS POINT IN TIME" you’ll probably hear repeatedly the next few days or weeks because Dr. Klein says the situation is "fluid" and changing.

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It’s also fluid in Ventura at Ventura County Medical Center according to their CEO Dr. John Fankhauser. He says, "We're all concerned about the trend in the community seeing increasing hospitalizations and that capacity could be taxed if we don’t see a flattening of the curve."

He’s seeing patients of all ages. Says Klein, "Half of the patients in this hospital are younger than I am. We have two in their 20s and two in their 30s. We have some in their 40s and 50s. If people have the sense that this can not affect them or a close family member that’s just errant thinking."

All of those we talked with are concerned about those people in the community who are just not taking this seriously enough. Says Fankhauser, "I’ve heard and I continue to hear this element of folks that this is somehow an amped up concern, that this isn’t something to be worried about and that the threat of this virus is not as severe as its being made out to be."

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But, take it from Doctors Fankhauser, Klein, and Kilani that this so-called super surge is getting worse. In fact, Dr. Kilani says, "I don’t think we’ve even completely surged. We’ve tripled in our numbers in a week or two and we’ve got a ways to go."

As of this writing, LA County has posted that the number of available adult ICU beds in this county is at 23%. That is creeping dangerously close to the 15% that will trigger more severe restrictions in our Southern California region.

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