No regular COVID tests for UCI hospital nurses, not enough space for both staff and patients

Nilu Patel is a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist at UCI. She says cases at her hospital are increasing, and she’s concerned whether they’re prepared for what comes next. Photo courtesy of National Nurses United.

California surpassed a million COVID-19 cases this week. KCRW talks to a frontline nurse in Irvine who says her hospital is running out of space as they receive a daily influx of coronavirus patients.

“When you see what's happening in the emergency department, for instance, and there's patients lined up in the hallway and there’s patients outside. There's clearly not enough staff for that,” says Nilu Patel.

She says nurses don’t regularly get tested for COVID-19 at the hospital, and instead they get tested randomly or on their own time. “Nurses are burnt out. Nurses are getting sick themselves.”