In San Bernardino County, a hospital runs at 200% capacity and COVID patients are treated in hallways

ER tech Brenda de la Cruz (R) and registered nurse Janet Hays work outside St. Mary Medical Center in the triage tents during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Apple Valley, California, U.S., December 8, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Blake

Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley reportedly have no ICU space. Hospitals are creating special COVID-19 wards to handle the influx. There are plans now for how to ration care. 

St. Mary’s Medical Center in Apple Valley invited Washington Post reporters inside to document what’s happening. The result is a video and a first person account of a hospital in crisis.  

“Every day we’re running at 200, 250% capacity. That includes the emergency department, the ICU, all of the inpatient units. We have well over double the number of patients that we were built to house,” Randy Loveless, the interim director of St. Mary’s emergency department, told the Washington Post.

Jorge Silva, a registered nurse at St. Mary’s, told the Post: “I’ve seen approximately 10 people that I know or are family friends or neighbors. Three unfortunately have passed. … It’s tough seeing all that. There’s a lot of weight on the shoulders that we all carry. It’s depressing, but we’re all hopeful. That’s the thing I think we all cling onto: hope. I’m a religious man, so I pray.”