Concern Grows Over Limited ICU Capacity

NBC Universal, Inc.

No matter how hard nurses work to heal patients, hospital beds in Southern California are getting harder to find.

Michael Kennedy is a nurse at UC San Diego Medical Center.

“I don’t really see an end in the near future. We just had Thanksgiving,we’re just about to have Christmas holiday, there’s a lot of gatherings going on and I only see this increasing,” Kennedy said.

Numbers Sunday night show 82% of San Diego County’s 689 ICU beds are full, and COVID-19 patients are getting closer to occupying almost half of those beds

With 39 more of our San Diego neighbors admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 on Saturday, and they’re not the only ones.

Kennedy says the California Nurses Association is concerned.

He says some hospitals are asking for waivers from the governor to do more with less staff.

“We’re seeing more and more pressure to rush patients through to get them out for your beds for the next procedure that’s happening,” Kennedy said.

And- in the Southern California region ICU capacity is at about 5.3 %.

Beds are even more scarce in Los Angeles County – where the latest numbers show 4,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

So while Kennedy is optimistic about the vaccine arriving this week, he says it'll be months before enough people will have access to slow the spread of the virus.

“It’s going to be a very bleak January and February,” Kennedy said.

And that will leave nurses and doctors facing a stark winter.

That is why Kennedy says abiding by the stay-at-home in place across the state is the only way he believes hospitalizations will even start to go down, as it will takes months for the vaccine to have an impact.

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