Alarming Covid-19 case increases in Los Angeles County could lead to a shortage of both regular hospital beds and intensive care beds within the next two to four weeks if the current trajectory holds.
Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly presented the grim outlook for Los Angeles County, which is mid-surge with 4,311 new cases announced Wednesday. Ghaly estimates that one in every five residents has had Covid-19 and about one in 145 are currently infectious. Nearly 60% of those who are infected are not currently experiencing pronounced symptoms.
Average daily cases climbed 113% during the first two weeks of November, and hospitalizations have increased 70% over the past two weeks.
“What is stretched most thin within both public and private hospitals across Los Angeles County is the availability of staff,” Ghaly said. The county will be able to find flex space within hospitals, using pre- and post-operative space, unused wings, or the emergency department to hold patients, but finding trained staff will be more difficult.
Los Angeles County residents should be prepared to potentially have nonessential surgeries or procedures canceled so that hospitals can make room for additional patients, Ghaly advised.
“I cannot stress enough how concerning this is, as we know these numbers represent actions that were taken several weeks ago,” said Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis. “Simply put, we need to turn this around immediately, but it will not be easy.”
Despite his concern, Davis has yet to strengthen the health officer orders for the county of about 10 million. Noting that a state order is already in place limiting movement, he said his staff is still working to answer questions and give businesses more time to prepare for further restrictions.
Note: These numbers were released by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.