California is considering quarantine protocols for people returning from the UK as a result of the new COVID-19 strain that has emerged there – as the state braces for a grim Christmas with hospitalizations surging 600 percent in two months.
It comes after British Airways and Delta said travelers must test negative before boarding flights to New York City following pressure from New York Gov Andrew Cuomo.
California Gov Gavin Newsom said on Monday he hopes the federal government takes action and enforces quarantine for travelers after 40 countries around the world banned travel from the UK in a bid to stop the new mutant variant of the virus.
The state is already battling a COVID-19 surge with doctors fearing California is on track to become like former COVID-19 epicenter New York.
There are currently 16,843 patients being treated across the state for COVID-19 and 3,614 of them are in ICU, the latest data from the state’s health department shows.
Just two months ago, there were a total of 2,291 patients, including 657 in ICU.
The number of people hospitalized is now more than double the state’s previous peak, reached in July, and a state model forecasts the total could hit 75,000 patients by mid-January.
As of Sunday, ICU capacity was at zero percent in South California and San Joaquin Valley region.
Los Angeles County currently accounts for the most hospitalizations in the state with 5,709 COVID-19 patients.
There are currently 16,843 patients being treated across California for COVID-19. Pictured above is a triage tent set up outside Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California on Friday
There are currently 16,843 patients being treated across the state for COVID-19 and 3,614 of them are in ICU, the latest data from the state’s health department shows
‘We’re going to be New York, with bodies piling up. Wouldn’t be surprised if L.A. rings in the new year as the COVID capital of the world,’ an unnamed doctor told the LA Times.
‘I don’t know how many ways to explain to people to isolate and stay home, short of bringing a camera to the ICU and (emergency department) to show them the mess of what we’re experiencing.’
The seven-day rolling average for deaths is currently at a record 232 per day with the total death toll now at just over 22,500.
In comparison, the seven-day rolling average for deaths in New York state is at 117 per day. At the peak of the state’s outbreak in April, average daily deaths surged to averages of 750.
The death toll in New York state is currently at 28,600.
As surging COVID-19 cases swamp California’s hospitals and strain medical staffing, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is back in a precautionary coronavirus quarantine for the second time in two months.
The state’s overwhelmed hospitals are setting up makeshift extra beds for COVID-19 patients, and a handful of facilities in hard-hit Los Angeles County are drawing up emergency plans in case they have to limit how many people receive live-saving care.
The seven-day rolling average for deaths is currently at a record 232 per day with the total death toll now at just over 22,500
The seven-day rolling average of cases in California is now at 43,000 per day. The state has a total of 1.8 million infections so far throughout the pandemic
Los Angeles County’s health services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly, said plans for rationing care are not in place yet but they need to be established because ‘the worst is yet to come’.
While shipments of the vaccine are rolling out to many health care workers and nursing homes across the country, it could be months before the shots are available to the general public.
Until then, four hospitals run by Los Angeles County are weighing what to do if they cannot treat everyone because of a shortage of beds or staffers.
A document recently circulated among doctors at the four hospitals proposed that instead of trying to save every life, their goal could shift to saving as many patients as possible – meaning those less likely to survive would not get the same kind of care.
‘Some compromise of standard of care is unavoidable; it is not that an entity, system or locale chooses to limit resources, it is that the resources are clearly not available to provide care in a regular manner,’ said the document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many hospitals in California already have implemented emergency procedures to stretch staff and space.
All but one region in California is currently under state-at-home orders, which is affected 39 million residents
Clinicians evaluate a patient in a triage tent set up outside Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley last Friday
California increased its body bag supply by 5,000 last week and put 60 refrigerated trucks on standby, according to Gov Newsom. One of the trucks is seen outside a hospital in the state on Tuesday
Corona Regional Medical Center southeast of Los Angeles has converted an old emergency room to handle nearly double the usual number of ICU patients. It’s also using two disaster tents to triage ER patients.
Some hospitals have canceled non-essential elective surgeries, such as hip replacements, that might take up beds that could soon be needed for COVID-19 patients.
Nurses say the crush of cases means they have less time to spend with patients, many of whom are sicker than they have ever been.
‘The more patients we have, the more there’s a risk of making a mistake, especially if we’re rushing,’ said Wendy Macedo, a nurse at UCLA Health Santa Monica Medical Center.
‘Obviously we’re trying to avoid that, but we’re only human.’
California was experiencing ‘some of the darkest days of our COVID-19 surge,’ Gov. Gavin Newsom said, but there was some light Sunday as a group of scientists and experts endorsed a vaccine developed by Moderna.
In comparison, the seven-day rolling average for deaths in New York state is at 117 per day. At the peak of the state’s outbreak in April, average daily deaths surged to averages of 750
New York state, which was the initial epicenter of the US outbreak, has recorded 804,000 cases
The step clears the way for the drug to be distributed throughout California and other Western states that reviewed it separately from the Food and Drug Administration.
But with vaccinations in limited supply until spring or summer, political leaders are calling on people to stay at home and wear masks.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked airlines flying into his state from the United Kingdom to make all passengers take a coronavirus test before they get on board over a new strain of COVID-19 that has been detected there.
British Airways has agreed to enforce negative COVID-19 tests before passengers fly to New York City.
It is not yet clear if that will be a requirement for passengers traveling from the UK to Los Angeles.
Currently, those coming into California from other countries, or even just out of state, are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
People flying into LAX are required to fill out an online form to say they acknowledge the quarantine measures.