New year brings more COVID-19 patients to Southern California hospitals

Hosted by

Medical staff test people for COVID-19 at a drive-thru Kaiser Permanente site in Anaheim, California. Photo by Laura Kondourajian.

Category 10 and World War III are descriptions of what’s happening inside LA’s hospitals and morgues. They underscore how serious the winter and holiday super surge of COVID-19 really is. 

“We have doubled up rooms. We have converted our post-surgical care unit to intensive care,” says Dr. Elaine Batchlor, the CEO at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South LA. “We have five tents outside that we’re using for triage and COVID care. We’ve converted our emergency department waiting room completely to treatment space.”

Meanwhile, Orange County residents are still arguing over wearing masks in public. “There's so much mixed messaging, at least in the totality of Orange County. It's not surprising then that some people really do think coronavirus shouldn't be paid any attention to,” says Gustavo Arellano.