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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Valley Hospitals Grapple With COVID-19 Surge

The number of available intensive care unit beds has plummeted in Los Angeles County from the continuing influx of hospitalized COIVD-19 patients, with only 92 ICU beds available Thursday countywide, according to data from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.With about 2,500 ICU beds in the county, that’s an availability far below 1 percent. The county has a population of more than 10 million people.According to state data, Ventura County clocked in at 35 beds available as of Wednesday, or 3.7 percent of total capacity.The Southern California region ICU bed availability is less than 1 percent. The state’s stay-at-home order becomes mandatory if the regional percentage dips below 15 percent, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said in November.Valley hospitals such as Kaiser Permanente and Providence Health & Services have been converting other units to ICUs by adding the necessary equipment, spokespeople said.“As with hospitals everywhere, Kaiser Permanente’s hospital ICUs have been very heavily impacted by the current surge in COVID-19 cases, including at our Panorama City and Woodland Hills medical centers. Capacity fluctuates daily – even hourly – and we have plans and space identified to expand bed capacity if needed,” Dr. Nancy Gin, regional medical director of quality and clinical analysis, said in a statement.

Kaiser Permanente declined to provide daily ICU numbers to the Business Journal.Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills currently has 35 ICU patients, although the facility only has 24 ICU beds, according to Elizabeth Chow, executive director of critical care at the hospital. She said Holy Cross is utilizing beds in other areas, including in the emergency room and operating room for the additional patients.Newsom required hospitals to prepare for a surge of patients and make available an additional 45 percent of their space for patient overflow at the beginning of this year. Tents were one option, but each hospital handled the requirement differently.

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