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For nurses, the virus outbreak in California will cause personal casualties



Sacramento, California (AP) — For Caroline Brandenburg, the coronavirus outbreak that has overwhelmed California hospitals has caused very personal casualties.

“Just today, we have two deaths on this device. This is almost normal,” said Brandenburg, who works on COVID-19 devices at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, south of Los Angeles. “Usually I see one or two in each class. It’s so sad.”

“They are fighting every day, even with a lot of oxygen every day, they are having trouble breathing every day. Brandenburg said: “Then you see them dead. They died. “

California has avoided a surge of cases for months, but now the virus is raging locally, just like many other states. Only Arizona has the highest number of infections per capita in California, while in a huge state with 40 million residents, the number of cases is staggering: more than 2.5 million confirmed cases.

The surge after Halloween and Thanksgiving has led to record hospitalizations, and now the heaviest patients are dying in unprecedented numbers. California health authorities reported 583 new deaths on Thursday, a two-day record of 1

,042 cases.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been more than 28,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state.

The number of hospitalizations is close to 22,000, and the state model predicts that this number will reach 30,000 by February 1. Many hospitals in Los Angeles and other disaster-affected areas are already struggling to keep up, and warn that they may need to ration care due to fewer intensive care beds.

Legislators and public health officials have repeatedly praised medical workers as heroes because they work hard to treat infected people. After the state government began to issue an exemption order, many hospitals have become thinner and thinner, and the patients they are caring for are beyond the range normally permitted under state law. The exemption allows hospitals to temporarily bypass the strict nurse-to-patient ratio law.

The nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital explained the loss of this work.

Donna Rottschafer, a nurse in the COVID-19 department, said: “The past week may have been the hardest week physically and mentally for me. I have been here for 21 years and I have seen more people pass away. Last week, actually It was the past few weeks, and then it was almost like my entire career.”

She said: “We see that patients consume the most oxygen, and they are basically just suffering.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that in northern Los Angeles County, data released on Thursday showed that the number of new cases every day was close to 20,000, an increase of 66.5% from the previous day.

Gasetti said more than 8,000 people were hospitalized, the largest since the pandemic began last year.

The county accounts for a quarter of the state’s population, but it accounts for about 40% of COVID-19 deaths.

Gasetti said that federal authorities should step in to send vaccines, money, doctors and personal protective equipment to the area, noting that at the peak of the New York pandemic, medical personnel and personal protective equipment flooded into New York.

“This is our peak, we need you,” Gasetti said. “We need national leadership, we need vaccines, we need resources to pay. Give us these, we know how to get the job done.”

Los Angeles is one of the 14 counties in the two hardest-hit areas (Southern California and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley). In about two weeks, the intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients basically ran out.

State data showed that as of Wednesday, the availability of intensive care units in Bay Area hospitals had dropped to a minimum, from 7.4% to 3.5%. Northern California, which includes 11 predominantly counties and rural areas, has the highest production capacity at about 25%.

Earlier this week, state health officials caught hospitals by surprise, making them scramble to implement new orders, restrict unnecessary operations, and require hospitals that lack ICU space to accept patients who have run out. This order may require patients Transfer hundreds of miles.

During the earlier surge, patients in Imperial County, which borders Mexico, were taken to hospitals as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area. But the current epidemic is so widespread that only 11 mainly rural counties north of Sacramento and San Francisco have exceeded the state threshold, which can accommodate at least 15% of coronavirus patients in ICU beds. Enterprises below this level will be subject to stricter business operation restrictions.

The biggest concern is that on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, those who ignore the rules of social distancing and gather with relatives and friends will provide rationing services to the hospital within a few weeks.

Officials urge people to avoid mixed homes or travel in order to slow down the spread of infections and prevent the so-called epidemic when it occurs.

To bring people closer to home, the Newsom government issued more abrupt travel advice, stating that it “strongly discourages” people from outside the state from entering California, and Californians should avoid unnecessary travel more than 120 miles away from home. travel.

Los Angeles Mayor Gasetti said: “The next two or three weeks will define everything for us. Our actions will determine everything we do.”

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Associated Press writer Kathreen Ronayne in Sacramento, John Antczak and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles, San Francisco’s Jenny Janie Har contributed to this story.


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