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Orange County Sets Another Record For COVID-19 Hospitalizations

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) - Orange County has again set new records Wednesday for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 1,854 patients, including 394 in intensive care, health officials said.

The county also reported 4,406 new coronavirus cases and two additional deaths.

The surge comes as dozens of nurses were picketing Wednesday morning across Orange County, protesting the deteriorating conditions inside hospitals which have been brought to a breaking point due to the exponential spike in coronavirus cases.

The nurses began picketing at 6 a.m. outside Anaheim, Chapman and South Coast Global Medical Centers, as well as the West Anaheim Medical Center.

The county's ICU bed availability remains at zero in the "adjusted" metric but dropped from 10.2% Monday in the unadjusted category to 7.5%. The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-coronavirus patients.

"A few months ago, we had five COVID patients in the hospital, and now we're up to nearly 100, so that shows you within just a couple of months how much it has accelerated," Dr. Jim Keany, head of the emergency room at Mission Hospital, said. "And again we're still accelerating, so it hasn't slowed down yet. We're still on that upward spike of that curve."

The county has three mobile field hospitals set up now with 50 beds at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, 25 at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and 25 at Los Alamitos Medical Center.

County officials received doses of Moderna vaccines on Wednesday. Larger hospital systems received doses directly on Tuesday, and the county expects Wednesday's doses to be distributed to smaller hospitals, officials said.

Next week, county officials will debut an app developed to help doctors and nurses track recipients of vaccines to ensure they get a booster shot and to monitor for side effects.

The surge in cases is hitting Los Angeles County as well. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health reported Wednesday 145 deaths from COVID-19, the highest number of people that have died in the county in a single day.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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