Health care system could hit capacity next month during COVID surge, says LA DPH’s chief medical officer

People wait in line as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes food outside a church during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 19, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Blake

LA announced more than 6,000 new COVID cases on Monday. That means the county has likely reached the benchmark to trigger another stay-at-home order. This comes just days before nearly 4 million Southern Californians are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, according to AAA’s annual forecast.

Hospitalizations have more than doubled since the end of September, according to Dr. Jeff Guzenhauser, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Disease Control Bureau at the LA County Department of Public Health.

“We’re very concerned that by the mid or late part of December, our health care system could be at its capacity,” he says.

After the last surge following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Guzenhauser is worried about the effects of people gathering during Thanksgiving.

He says it continues a concerning trend he already started seeing in recent contact tracing interviews.

“When we interview cases, there was a substantial increase in the number of persons who say they participate in some sort of gathering with people outside their household. And a number of them said they even found out later that people were there who were sick.”

He advises, “If you really love friends and family, the best way to express that is to choose ways to connect with people that pose no risk for the transmission of this virus.”

Credits

Guest:

  • Dr. Jeff Guzenhauser - Chief Medical Officer and Director of Disease Control Bureau, LA County Department of Public Health