Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer revealed on Monday the toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the region’s healthcare workers.
While it was well documented that the virus ravaged the area’s nursing home patients in the early stages of L.A.’s battle with COVID-19, less has been said about the toll on healthcare workers themselves.
A total of 11,841 healthcare workers and first responders in L.A. County have been infected with the coronavirus, according to Ferrer. That total includes an additional 1,149 new cases just in the past week. Sixty-five percent of those impacted were caregivers in skilled nursing facilities,
“Healthcare workers continue to be the most affected” worker population in the county, said Ferrer.
That revelation seems even more important given the continuing high level of hospitalizations in the county. As of Monday, there were 2,017 COVID-related hospitalizations, said Ferrer. That’s not far from the all-time high of 2,232 virus patients hospitalized one week ago.
And those numbers are incomplete due to delays in a new federally-mandated reporting process that has local officials awaiting information from the state. “We think there’s still 6 hospitals [outstanding],” said Ferrer.
There was no exact number of ICU patients given.
“Many people, when they think about capacity, they think about beds – literally, mattresses and pillows – and, of course, it is much more complex than that,” Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association, told The Sacramento Bee.
“Capacity is made up of not just space and beds,” she continued. “In fact, those are the easiest things to resolve. It is all about staff and personal protective equipment and testing, and unfortunately, all three of those things are in short supply.”
There was better news on Monday in terms of new cases. The county health department reported 2,039 new infections, for a total of 176,028 since the pandemic began. Again, cautioned Ferrer, “we still have a slight lag because of reporting changes with the state.”
The county reported 17 new deaths on Monday, for a total of 4,375.
The test positivity rate stands at 9 percent, one point above where it needs to be for the county to reopen further.
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