Paging Kirk Cameron. Kirk Cameron to the E.R.
As footage was shared online of actor Kirk Cameron smiling while hosting a maskless yuletide singalong/protest with about 100 people on Tuesday night, another piece of video provided a stark counterpoint.
Released by Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, the footage shows prone patients lined up outside a local hospital on EMT stretchers, apparently waiting for admittance. It shows other prospective patients waiting — again outside — under pop-up tents in wheel chairs while hooked up to oxygen tanks.
The video recalls horrifying images seen in countries like Italy early in the pandemic where patients were dying in hospital hallways.
The images come from inside — and outside — Kaiser Permanente’s Downey and Fontana medical centers, and they portray a stark reality that local public health officials have been trying to communicate for weeks.
California hospitals and health systems have reached a crisis caring for surges of #COVID19 patients and have an urgent prescription and plea for this holiday: #DontShareYourAir. @sutterhealth @dignityhealth
For more information visit: https://t.co/14j50rKWtE pic.twitter.com/0qnjKKhpt9
— Kaiser Permanente Southern California (@KPSCALnews) December 23, 2020
“If you’re still out there shopping for your loved ones for this holiday season or you’re planning a holiday get-together, then you are missing the gravity of the situation that is affecting hospitals across Los Angeles County and California and this nation,” county Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said Monday. “People are very sick in the hospitals. They are dying there.”
Kaiser Permanente, which operates 36 hospitals across the state, revealed Tuesday that it had surpassed 100% of its usual patient capacity.
Two days before Christmas, L.A. 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 a record 6,155 Covid-19 patients in regional hospitals. That number is also expected to grow even larger over the next few days. ICU capacity statewide was at 1.2% availability.
A record 145 L.A. residents lost their lives from Covid-19 on Wednesday.
In the video, Kaiser doctor Praven Acharya warns, “This surge is beyond what anybody could have imagined. If people continue to gather for the upcoming holidays, we are going to cripple our hospital system.”
Said RN Hans Vega, “I’m doing all this work here for your family, for your friends, for people that you may know, and some people don’t take it seriously out there. Sometimes feels like a slap in the face.”
You can watch a longer video with statements from other health professionals below.