At San Quentin State Prison, about one-third of the 3,500 inmates have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19. In Los Angeles, county officials are sounding the alarm that they may run out of hospital beds in a matter of weeks. In Riverside, ICU beds are at capacity, and nurses are striking.
Statewide, California is fast becoming a national hotspot, as COVID-19 positive tests are now topping 6,000 per day. And it remains to be seen how gatherings held over the Fourth of July weekend might drive up the number of cases even further.
Hospitalizations in California related to COVID-19 have increased 54% from two weeks ago, and the state reported 50 deaths last Friday alone.
In other words, after showing itself to be a model for flattening the COVID-19 curve early in this pandemic, California now finds itself on the edge of a dangerous precipice, and hospitals are once again being called.
That means digging deep once again — despite the exhausted staff, the dwindling resources, the uncertain availability of PPE, and other challenges.
As each of you steels yourself for another round of this fight, know that you are not alone.
For your battle-worn staff, our Hospital Quality Institute Care for the Caregiver program offers training in psychological first aid.
For your overfilled clinical space and strained resources, CHA is working with the Governor’s top health officials on a different surge plan — one that does not rely on early and preemptive cancellation of procedures but instead on real-time surge flexibility and a grant program that would provide direct funds to support capacity expansions beyond our current surge capabilities.
We’re also working with the Governor’s team to ensure that a steady supply of PPE and other medical equipment continues to flow to California.
Broad operational waivers have been secured through March of 2021 to alleviate regulatory burdens as you manage through this unprecedented crisis.
All of this and more is designed to support what you and your teams do, but surviving this virus is really a psychological gut-check for each of us personally. There will likely be many more ups and downs in the numbers; there will be many more deaths; there will be more strikes and more strife.
Every day, though, I see an army of women and men — some 500,000 strong — get up ready to go to work at a hospital, ready to fight for the lives of their fellow Californians.
Their commitment is inspiring, because they remind us all why we do what we do, and their steadfastness compels each of us to press onward.