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'We Really Can't Tolerate Much More': Concerns Continue As Hospitals Brace For Influx Of Coronavirus Patients

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Healthcare workers in Los Angeles say hospital capacity is worse now than they've ever seen it, and their biggest fear is having to turn patients away.

Sunday marked the first time in the pandemic that there were more than 4,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in L.A. County.

"It's not we have ever seen before," said Dr. Mariam Torossian, a pulmonary critical care doctor at Providence Saint Joseph Hospital in Burbank. "These are certainly unprecedented times. This is the largest and most aggressive surge we've seen. It's far beyond anything we've seen even in the beginning."

Over at LAC+USC Medical Center, the largest coronavirus ward in Southern California, healthcare workers have been frantically working to try to save as many people as possible who are suffering from COVID-19 complications.

ICU beds at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank are full and now that hospital has had to utilize makeshift beds in other areas of the hospital.

Dr. Torossian says about 80% of people who get infected with coronavirus will be okay, however, it's the remaining 20% who will require hospitalization, and many of them are heading to the hospital all at once.

"We really can't tolerate much more, and most importantly, we can't care for patients if we see more," she said.

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, there's a slightly different story, with officials saying that although they've seen an increase, they still have enough resources to help patients.

"We are coming up with different ways to shuffle beds around but I'm very comfortable we will be able to handle whatever comes at us for now unless things get worse," said one Cedars-Sinai employee.

Healthcare workers, despite the grim outlook of rising cases and a reduction of hospital ICU beds, are optimistic about the vaccine coming but still encourage all Americans to follow coronavirus precautions, including wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing.

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