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Friday, May 20, 2022

Local Hospitals Under Omicron Pressure

The COVID-19 surge fueled by the Omicron variant is exerting pressure on hospitals in the Valley region.

ICU occupancy for hospitals in the Valley has increased throughout the past few weeks. In the week ending Jan. 13, hospitals such as Encino Hospital Medical Center, Los Robles Hospital and Providence-Cedars Sinai Tarzana Medical Center reached occupancies upwards of 88 percent according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that as of Jan. 17, the seven-day average of new admissions of people with COVID-19 and the total number of patients admitted to the ICU increased from the prior week.

The surge has also created the need for health care providers to fully mobilize their staff to alleviate pressure on hospital systems.

Valley Community Healthcare in North Hollywood is currently providing relief for Valley Presbyterian Hospital ER, diverting people in need of testing and other services to two VCH clinics in North Hollywood and North Hills. Both clinics have expanded testing hours to accommodate the surge.

“We are 202 employees working around the clock for testing, vaccination, making an appointment, informing our patient population,” Paula Bahamon, the organization’s director of development, said. “We’re serving as many patients as possible.”

The operational push, which has seen redeployment of staff in all departments, including administrative, has cost more than $650,000, according to a release from VCH.

Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio “Tony” Pequeño IV is a reporter covering health care, finance and law for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. He specializes in reporting on some of the biggest names in the Valley’s biotechnology sector. In addition to his work with the Business Journal, Tony has reported with BuzzFeed News on the unsupervised use of Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition technology. Tony, who also conducts freelance reporting, graduated from the USC’s Master of Science in Journalism program in 2021. He is in his fifth year as a journalist as of 2021.

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