Central and Southern California have 0 percent ICU capacity

According to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation for 2018, California, the world’s wealthiest and most populous state in the world’s wealthiest, has long had a shortage of hospital beds – just 1.8 beds per 1,000 people. Now record-shattering of coronovirus cases has wiped out intensive care unit capacity in a large contingent of the state.

A group of people standing in a kitchen: Gabriella Ortega, a respiratory therapist, talks to a health care worker who is helping to treat a Kovid-19 patient at Providence St. Mary's Medical Center in Apple Valley, California is.  .

© Ariana Drisler for The New York Times
Gabriella Ortega, a respiratory therapist, talks to a health care worker who is helping to treat a Kovid-19 patient on December 17 at Providence St. Mary’s Medical Center in Apple Valley, California.

Southern California, its most populous region, and the central region’s San Joaquin Valley, which has 0 percent ICU capacity, will be placed under order to stay until at least December 28, the California Department of Public Health said on Saturday.

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Intensive care units in the Bay Area region are at 11.3 percent capacity and the Greater Sacramento region has 16.9 percent capacity. Both will likely remain under the order in the new year.

Prior to the epidemic, the proportion of hospital beds per capita in California was only slightly higher than in Washington State and Oregon, both ranked last in the nation. Many hospitals in the state kept their number of beds low to limit costs.

According to KUF’s 2018 data, ICU beds are limited: California had only 2.1 beds per 10,000 people, more plentiful than only 10 other states.

California is the first US state to have reported more than 2 million coronovirus cases so far. According to the New York Times database, the state had a weekly average of 36,418 new cases per day on Friday. This is a 21 percent increase from two weeks ago.

The situation is now out of control, officials and health care workers have warned. At Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, resources have been increased so much that Garnie is housed in the gift shop and the lobby is being used to treat patients. And keeping healthcare facilities adequately staffed is yet another obstacle.

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