on Thursday became the third state to , following New York and Texas. In Los Angeles County, many funeral homes are filled to capacity, and health care professionals feel as if they're under siege.
Hospitals in Southern California are at the breaking point with 1 in 5 COVID-19 tests coming back positive.
"It's just utter chaos," said nurse Tavonia Ekwegh, who runs the ER at Anaheim Global Medical Center. Tents outside the medical center are filling up.
"It is a war zone, we have ambulance run after ambulance run," Ekwegh said.
Hospitalizations are on track to double in January. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti put it in blunt terms: The "simple answer" is that L.A. hospitals can't handle twice as many patients.
"People will die in the hallways of our hospitals," Garcetti said. "Our behavior will dictate whether people live or die as much as any action the hospital takes."
He is sending out extra patrols to shut down New Year's Eve parties. He estimated that "probably over 1,000" officers will be out on the streets.
His message to city residents is to be "lifesavers, don't be killers."
"When 95% of people are doing the right thing, it's still dangerous, let alone when 80% of people are doing the right thing, and it's disastrous," Garcetti said.
And for Garcetti, the.
"Our own daughter. went on a fast food run and one shopping round," Garcetti said. "She got a positive COVID-19 test. We did everything right and still it came to our house."