Six thousand shots will be delivered to frontline healthcare workers by Christmas under a COVID-19 vaccination plan underway at Los Angeles County hospitals.
Los Angeles County Heath Services’ mass vaccination plan began Friday at three county hospitals — LA County-USC Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. About 1,500 members of the workforce were expected to be vaccinated Friday.
“It’s a significant step forward in our battle against COVID-19,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
The shots are being delivered as Southern California’s coronavirus crisis worsens, resulting in shrinking resources at the region’s hospitals and the largest surge of COVID-19 patients of the pandemic. The Southern California region’s ICU capacity dipped to 0% Thursday.
During a video conference to discuss the unprecedented surge, doctors and nurses pleaded with residents to follow public health orders to reduce the strain on hospitals.
“We’re getting crushed,” said Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at LAC-USC Medical Center. “We’ve had to scramble. Can we move this patient here? Can we move this patient there?
“It isn’t just COVID patients. It’s car accidents, and heart attacks and victims of violence.”
The Southern California region includes Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
The ICU capacity number is a snapshot of one moment in time that frequently changes as new patients are admitted or stabilized, no longer requiring the level of treatment delivered in an ICU. It does not necessarily mean there are no iCU beds available in the large Southern California region. The state adjusts the percentage downward if counties have a higher-than-expected ratio of COVID-19 patients occupying ICU spaces.
The state is averaging more than 35,000 new cases per day. About 12 percent of them (4,200) end up in hospitals, according to health officials.
On Thursday, California reported 52,000 new cases in a single day. That’s about equal to what the nation was averaging in mid-October. A record 379 deaths also were reported Thursday — another single-day record.
Coronavirus Hospital Use Projections Across the Country
This interactive chart uses model data provided by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to predict how the coronavirus will affect health care resources in different states. In states such as Florida and California, hospital bed use is projected to continue to grow into September and October. Most states have enough general hospital and ICU beds to meet demand, according to additional data from The Associated Press.
Sources: State hospital bed capacity data from the Associated Press. Model data provided by IHME. Note: The model assumes mask use continues at currently observed rates and the gradual easing of social distancing mandates continues. It also assumes the mandate would be re-imposed for six weeks if daily deaths reach 8 per million.
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC