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'People Are Going To Die That Don't Need To Die': Available ICU Capacity Drops To 1.7% In Southern California Region

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hospitals across Southern California Tuesday went into crisis mode as the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the 11-county region and intensive care unit availability dropped to 1.7%.

COVID-19 hospital care
FULLERTON, CA - DECEMBER 01: A nurse cleans her hands after checking a patient in the Critical Care Unit at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, CA on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Many COVID-19 patients are cared for in the unit. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

"We have broken our record, our previous record from the summertime of number of hospitalized COVID patients," Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said.

In Los Angeles County, fewer than 100 ICU beds remain and, for the second consecutive day, the L.A. County+USC Medical Center has no ICU beds available.

"Just too many patients needing critical care services for COVID, and so there is really no help to be had from our neighboring hospitals because we are all suffering the same problem," Mahajan said.

RELATED: LA County Reports 11,194 New COVID-19 Cases, 86 Deaths

In Ventura County, only 1% of ICU beds were available Tuesday night, prompting the county's public health officer to again warn residents about the consequences of not following local health orders.

"If a hospital were a car, it would be rattling right now," Dr. Robert Levin said. "The numbers are getting to be astronomical. People are going to die that don't need to die."

RELATED: Riverside Surpasses 1,600 Total Deaths, Ventura Hits 200

And the situation is not much better in the Inland Empire or Orange County.

In Riverside County, there are zero ICU beds available and Loma Linda University Health System said all of its San Bernardino County hospital ICU beds were full.

Orange County, again, set a record for the number of people in hospitals.

RELATED: Mobile Field Hospitals Come To OC For Surge Of COVID-19 Patients

And in a sign that it could get worse before it gets better, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had ordered additional body bags and temporary morgue trucks for the state.

"We just had to order 5,000 additional body bags we just purchased for the state," Newsom said. "We just distributed them down to San Diego, Los Angeles and Inoyo counties."

With hospitalizations trending up at what officials are calling a dangerous clip, experts are calling on residents to continue to social distance, wear face coverings and stay home whenever possible.

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