MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) – Some doctors in Orange County are concerned after seeing the number of COVID-19 patients double over the past week.
“We’re seeing that curve shoot straight up,” said Dr. Jim Keany, an emergency room physician at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, said Wednesday. “I mean, it’s not flattened at all it’s just a straight upshot.”
Dr. Keany said it is especially alarming considering Thanksgiving gatherings have not happened yet.
“I’m really concerned that all of the travel during Thanksgiving, all of the families together, all of the intermingling of people from different households is going to create a severe problem between now and Christmas,” he said. “Family gatherings he says are places where people aren’t wearing masks.”
Dr. Kearny has an important message for those looking only at the COVID-19 death rate to gauge how serious the virus is: Right now, his emergency department is filled with patients who are having severe reactions to the virus.
“They are not doing well,” he said. “They are not going to die. They are miserable and they’re either in pain feeling short of breath, numbness and tingling blood clots in the lungs, unexplained heart attacks, and strokes.”
According to Dr. Keany, even if 80 percent of the public wears masks, it only takes about 20 percent who aren’t wearing masks to spread the disease and cause widespread illness.
He said big COVID-19 numbers will stress the hospital system and there just aren’t enough nurses for that.
“My concern is that two weeks from now we are going to have a surge that is unmanageable,” said Dr. Kearny.
Officials with the L.A. County Health Department estimated Wednesday that one of every 145 people in the county are now infected and transmitting it to others.