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Los Angeles County ambulance crews told not to transport patients who have little chance of survival

Los Angeles County continues to see a high surge of COVID-19 cases and there’s a grim new shift in what happens to patients

In this Dec. 22, 2020, file photo, Dr. Mher Onanyan tends to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. In hard-hit Los Angeles County, the total COVID-19 death toll has reached 10,850 and confirmed cases topped 818,000 on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
Dr. Mher Onanyan tends to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 2020.
Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

Los Angeles County ambulance crews have been told not to transport patients with little chance of survival, CNN reports.

  • Patients who are transported often wait hours for an available bed.
  • “Hospitals are declaring internal disasters and having to open church gyms to serve as hospital units,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said, per CNN.
  • Solis said the situation is a “human disaster.”

Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer told CNN that a person dies every 15 minutes from the novel coronavirus. But those numbers might get worse because of an expected surge from holiday gatherings.

  • “The increases in cases are likely to continue for weeks to come as a result of holiday and New Year’s Eve parties and returning travelers,” Ferrer said. “We’re likely to experience the worst conditions in January that we’ve faced the entire pandemic, and that’s hard to imagine.”

The situation:

California has become something of an epicenter of the novel coronavirus, specifically in Los Angeles County. In fact, there’s a new coronavirus case in California every six seconds, as I wrote about for the Deseret News. Case numbers increase by the hour there.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the recent surge should be a warning to the rest of the country about how fast the virus can spread.

  • “This is something now that really is spreading in the home,” Garcetti said. “What’s happening in Los Angeles can and will be coming to many communities across America. If you get two households together for Christmas, if you went to a New Year’s gathering — even if it was people you know and love so you thought it was OK — that’s when this virus exploits that weakness and is going far.”