Los Angeles country struggles with rising Covid cases

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People walk at the boardwalk in Venice Beach during the first day of the Memorial Day holiday weekend amid the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic in California on May 23, 2020. - Los Angeles County officials announced May 22, 2020, that beach bike paths and some beach parking lots will reopen and curbside service at indoor malls will be permitted. The county reopened its beaches a week ago but kept beach parking lots, bike paths, piers and boardwalks closed. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

Southern California’s Los Angeles County hospitals overflowed with cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Christmas Day.

More than 6,700 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Christmas Day in the county, according to the Public Health department’s statement, and 20 percent of them were people in the intensive care unit.

The current number of hospitalizations is an increase from about 6,500 on Christmas Eve, which was four times the amount over the last month, and double the number of ICU (intensive care unit) patients from a month ago, a major US daily reported.

Amid the surge, entire lobby of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital has been converted into space to treat patients, gurneys have been placed in gift shop, and the waiting room is a tent outside, according to the US newspaper.

On Thursday, the county reported 148 new deaths, which equated to about one every 10 minutes, the highest total amid the pandemic.

Health care workers received their first shots of the Covid-19 vaccine at Providence St. Mary Medical Center as Christmas music played, but intensive care nurse Lisa Thompson, feared the next “code blue.”

“Every day is scary,” Thompson said. “We can’t even keep up with the amount of patients coming to the hospital.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom posted a video on Facebook projecting the number of people hospitalized could double in 30 days if current trends continue.

Over 678,040 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Los Angeles County and 9,305 people have died, representing the highest number of cases and deaths in one county, the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Tracker showed on Saturday. Another populous county, Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, has the second highest county number of cases at 382,213 cases and second highest number of deaths at 8,031.

FIRST TO SURPASS 2 MILLION CASES

On Christmas Eve, the state as a whole became the first in the US to surpass 2 million Covid-19 cases, 44 days after recording 1 million cases on Nov. 11 as much of the state remains under stay-at-home order.

The state also reported Thursday a record 18,875 hospitalizations including another record with 3,962 patients in ICU units.

California currently has the highest rate of Covid-19 cases at 92.2 per 100,000 people in the country, followed by Tennessee, Arizona, Alabama, among the top four highest rates. South Dakota currently has the highest Covid-19 death rate at 1.6 per 100,000 in the country, followed by Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Iowa.

New York still has the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began at 36,739 deaths, followed by Texas at 27,042 deaths, California at 23,993 deaths and Florida at 20,994 deaths.

The United States has the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths of any country worldwide at more than 18.9 million cases and more than 330,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins global tracker. CURRENTPH

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