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Huntington Hospital to Use Surge Tents as ‘Tsunami’ of COVID Patients Continues

147 coronavirus patients currently being treated at facility

Published on Thursday, December 17, 2020 | 4:01 pm

Huntington Hospital will soon begin using its surge tents due to an increasing influx of patients battling the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by a hospital official.

“Huntington Hospital has a record-breaking 147 COVID-19 positive patients, 26 of whom are in the ICU,” said Dorey Huston, senior manager of the hospital’s public relations and media department.

“We are maximizing our facility to serve patients most efficiently and to accommodate this rapid increase in hospitalizations,” Huston said. “In addition, our surge tents are expected to become available soon. Their immediate use is for patients who come to our emergency room but do not have life-threatening conditions.”

The hospital received 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday.

On Monday, L.A. County health officials announced that available capacity in the 11-county Southern California region has dropped to zero, according to figures released on Thursday.

On Monday, Huntington Hospital President and CEO Dr. Lori J Morgan said the hospital is experiencing “a tsunami of COVID-19 patients.”

The city previously set up a MASH unit at the Pasadena Convention Center that could hold patients if the hospital reached capacity.

The City Council voted to approve a contract to convert the center in April after early projections indicated that as many as 1,300 people could require hospitalization at Huntington Hospital by mid-May.

But those numbers did not materialize and instead decreased.

“There is simply a limit to the number of people who can safely receive intensive care services in our hospitals at any one time, even after everything has been done to expand the capacity and expand the ICUs,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

“The problem is not physical space. Setting up overflow capacity in non-hospital settings will not solve this problem,” Ghaly said.

The county also estimates that one of every 80 residents not
hospitalized or in quarantine or isolation is infected with the virus, likely without knowing it or showing any symptoms, yet still capable of infecting others.

Ghaly issued a warning for residents around the county who continue to resist public health protocols, such as staying home, wearing masks, and practicing physical distancing.

“If you don’t do everything possible to minimize spread (of the virus), then you are contributing to the spread and prolonging the amount of time in which our hospitals have more patients … than they can safely handle,” she said.

“The consequences of this will affect anyone and everyone who needs hospital-level care,” Ghaly said. “It’s not just those with COVID. It will impact people who have a heart attack or a stroke and need services. Those who are in a car accident and need surgery. Those who have newly diagnosed cancer and need immediate chemotherapy in an in-patient setting.”

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