LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Three frontline workers from Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center are sharing their experiences during the COVID surge in hopes people will think twice about gathering for the Super Bowl this weekend.
From December to January, the hospital was inundated with critically ill patients with respiratory distress and there were simply not enough beds for all of them.READ MORE: Report: Court Rules Vanessa Bryant Can Obtain Names Of LASD Deputies Accused Of Sharing Crash Site Photos
“It’s very difficult to see the fear in people’s eyes when they require that level of attention and fearing for their lives,” said Emergency Dept. Physician Dr. Pravin Acharya.
Acharya said they were inundated with critically ill patients with respiratory distress in the emergency department.
“Oftentimes, we had to see patients right out of the waiting room. They couldn’t be bedded because we had no beds. We would often discharge them with oxygen and home monitoring,” he said.
ICU nurse Alicia Padilla watched patients deteriorate very quickly. From oxygen support to intubation, to the final moments. Padilla said nurses are many times the only, and the last face, a patient sees.
She’s had to help families say goodbye through an iPad too many times.
“In the ICU, you do deal with death and dying, but not at this level,” she said. “For you to be there as the person they are with and reassuring the family that they are not going to be alone, that you are there with them, holding their hand while they are watching the family member take maybe their last breath. It’s really mentally very taxing and very emotional for the nurses.”
Although the number of new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have been recently going down in Los Angeles County, health officials say we can’t let our guards down.
With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, they are urging people not to gather for parties. They don’t want the game to become a super spreader event.READ MORE: Officials: 6 In Critical Condition After Stolen Vehicle Pursuit Ends In Multi-Vehicle Crash
“Many of the patients that I had seen had mentioned how they were together with family or friends and they contracted the disease from someone who had no symptoms and when they arrived, they had to nearly get on a ventilator,” Acharya said.
Nursing Department Manager Mirna Diaz has not only seen patients lose their lives from COVID complications at work, but she’s also lost family members as well.
“We want to also stay safe as nurses because we also have families and we want to be there for them. We want to be here for our patients, but we need everyone to do the right thing,” Diaz said.
Acharya said, “We are not out of the woods and we have to do our part as individuals to slow the spread.”
Meanwhile Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 4,761 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 226 new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,138,764 cases and 17,764 deaths.
Of the 226 new deaths, 70 people who died were over the age of 80, 83 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 37 people were between the ages of 50 and 64, 18 people were between the ages of 30 and 49, one person was between the ages of 18 and 29 and one death is under investigation.
Since Monday, health officials said the county has added more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths — even as daily cases and hospitalizations continue to decline.
There were 4,796 COVID-19 patients hospitalized Friday, 28% of whom were being treated in intensive care units.MORE NEWS: Authorities Find Silvia Ochoa De Hernandez, Woman Who Went Missing In South Gate
With testing results available for more than 5,573,000 individuals, the county’s overall positivity rate was holding steady at 19%, though the daily test positivity rate has fallen to 8.6%.