Northern Inyo Hospital

Hospitals and Emergency Rooms are increasingly becoming overwhelmed, along with their staffs.

The public has been warned repeatedly by local public health officials of the danger of the winter months with the holiday travel, and holiday gatherings when people are increasingly indoors in close quarters with others, and having family, friends, and visitors insisting on coming to our area during the holidays. In an odd twist, many of those that come here feel that they are safer while they are here than from where they came from, which are often Covid-19 hotspots. Little has been done to discourage the behavior, so it’s likely to continue. That scenario has played out many times over the past few months and it is coming home to roost, not just here in the Eastern Sierra, but across the country.

In just the past few days alone, the positive Covid-19 reports from Inyo and Mono counties have been surging and the local hospitals are asking that those needing non-emergency and non-lifesaving medical care to not come to the hospitals and emergency rooms, but instead, call first, and follow their advice.

Even as many hospitals and nursing homes have begun receiving the new Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the number of cases in the public have continued to escalate, and it has health officials and medical personnel understandably worried because of the risk of having our local medical resources overwhelmed. And that include their staff.

The national numbers from across the country as of yesterday are: 

  • Cases= 21.1 million (+239,000)
  • Deaths= 357,000 (+3,664)

Inyo County has reported a whopping 90 new cases of Positive Covid-19 in just the past few days alone, and an additional 5 new deaths, which brings the total of deaths in Inyo County attributed to Covid to 25. While deaths in Mono County have remained low and fairly steady at 4 deaths, their Positive Covid-19 cases in the past several weeks have surged as well.

Currently, Inyo County reported on Monday, Jan. 4, that they had 675 positive Covid cases, which was an increase of 56 from their last report. Then yesterday, another 34 cases.

As bad as it seems here…and it can get far worse. According to CBS News, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency  issued directives that ambulances should stop transporting patients to hospitals if they have virtually no chance of surviving, including those whose hearts and breathing have stopped and who couldn’t be resuscitated by paramedics.

Oxygen tank and valve 1

Hospitals running low on oxygen.

Oxygen is also in very short supply. Covid-19 victims can use as much as 9 to 10 times the amount of oxygen normally used with most other non-Covid patients.

Los Angeles announced that, because of an oxygen shortage and overflowing capacity of ICU and hospital beds, that paramedics should not bring anyone to the hospital who will not likely survive.

The agency also issued a directive on Monday directing ambulance crews to administer less oxygen. Supplies have been strained because of the pandemic.

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