By T.A. Hendrickson
Intensive care units at hospitals near Northeast Los Angeles remain at or near capacity as COVID-19 continues to surge.
The latest data, published Jan. 4 by the New York Times, tracks information provided by hospitals to the federal government for the week ending Dec. 31.
The data show that ICUs were full at five nearby hospitals: Adventist Health Glendale, Alhambra Hospital Medical Center, Glendale Memorial Hospital, USC Verdugo Hills and White Memorial in Boyle Heights. In all, 580 COVID-19 patients were being treated at those five hospitals, ranging from 43 at Alhambra Hospital Medical Center to 179 at White Memorial.
At three other nearby hospitals, ICUs were at 90% to 97% capacity, with two beds available at Keck USC, five at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank and 10 at L.A. County & USC Medical Center. In all, 405 COVID-19 patients were being treated at those three hospitals, including 221 at L.A. County & USC Medical Center, 138 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and 46 at Keck USC.
The only nearby hospital with any appreciable spare ICU capacity was Huntington Memorial in Pasadena, at 62% occupancy and 26 available beds. The data show that 183 COVID-19 patients were being treated at Huntington.
The situation in ICUs is likely to get worse before it gets better because the latest data do not capture the effects of holiday gatherings and travel on the spread of COVID-19.
In California, stay-at-home orders are triggered when a region’s ICU capacity reaches 85%. At hospitals with more than 95% ICU occupancy, maintaining existing standards of care for the sickest patients may be difficult or impossible, according to experts consulted by the New York Times.
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T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.