With fools like Kirk Cameron flouting safety protocols, holiday cheer was in short supply today as coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations in Los Angeles County broke new tragic records, according to regional health officials.
There were 145 deaths reported today, according to LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. That horrible data brings the number of deaths due to Covid-19 in LA County to 9,016. Adding to the dire situation in semi-locked down Southern California, there were 16,575 confirmed cases of the virus. That’s a near record that brings the total number of cases in LA County to 647,542.
In that context, Dr. Ferrer bluntly added that we will be “witnessing 10,000 deaths for Covid-19 as our hospitals are overwhelmed.” The top health official added that hospitalizations will increase over the “next two weeks” for a “devestating impact on LA County.”
That impact will be all the greater with more and more people in and around the county ignoring the stay-at-home order in effect presently. Many of those are not wearing recommended masks outside, gathering for Christmas occasions or shopping and even traveling for the holiday.
In a high-profile case of such actions, one-time Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron held his third Christmas caroling event in as many weeks yesterday, with unmasked singers in close proximity in protest of protection methods. With around 100 people in attendance, the gathering was held in the parking lot of The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks in Ventura County – which is seeing leaps in Covid-19 cases day over day.
“I’m at a loss of words at this point,” a clearly frustrated Dr. Ferrer said of Cameron’s actions. “It’s very irresponsible and very dangerous and it’s unnecessary. We’re in the middle of a pandemic.”
“It could become catastrophic in January …stay home for the holidays,” implored Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly.
That catastrophe is becoming all the clearer heading into 2020’s closing days.
Two days before Christmas, the county is reeling from the consequences of Thanksgiving with a mere 57 ICU beds available over the 70 emergency receiving hospitals in the region. Breaking down to 33 adult and 24 pediatric beds in the ICU, county health officials reckon that LA County has around 6,155 patients in the regional hospitals from Covid-19 – and that number is also expected to grow even larger over the next few days.
“The surge that we are in was avoidable and the surge that is going to come was avoidable,” Dr. Ghaly stated today too, pleading again with county citizens to not mingle or gather over Christmas.
“The worst is yet to come,” she passionately added. “Covid-19 is absolutely rampant in LA County. We can all unknowingly be silent killers,” Dr. Ghaly declared, predicting a further Yuletide tidal wave hitting in the next “two or three weeks.”
With footage and accounts of maskless crowds and gathering almost everywhere in and around LA, Dr. Ferrer put it even more starkly: “We are in deep trouble …we’re in really really bad shape.”
To put that in further perspective, as of yesterday, 96% of regional hospitals were unable to take 911 and other emergency patients. Usually around this time of year, facilities are at a third of that statistic. That 96% number is anticipated to rise over Christmas.
In a sliver of good news, 38,850 frontline healthcare workers were vaccinated with the Pfizer dose as of yesterday. Though California has seen its allocation of the vaccine drop due to metrics incompetence by the federal government, LA County has about 131,625 doses “either received or en route,” today’s briefing revealed. Also, 116,600 doses of the just approved Moderna vaccine are now in the county awaiting to be given as shots.
Dr. Ferrer announced that there will be no more press briefings until December 28, though relevant data will be made available over the next few days.
#COVID19 testing sites will be operating under a modified schedule through the holidays. If you feel sick or are experiencing symptoms, please call your doctor or 2-1-1. https://t.co/aPRHIxmQ19 pic.twitter.com/ZhXnwuXJE6
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) December 23, 2020