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Doctors, Nurses Say COVID-19 Swamping Some Central, South Coast ER's, But They Are Keeping Up So Far

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At first glance, they're just numbers.  They are shocking numbers, but numbers.  1520 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ventura County Wednesday.  But, they are much more than that to thousands of families in the county.  They are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandmothers and grandfathers.

Some of them will end up in the county’s eight hospitals.  But, the hospitals  are already packed, and doctors, nurses, and other staff are struggling to handle it.

Gavin Jones is a registered nurse who works in Ventura County Medical Center’s Emergency Room.  He says he’s never seen it so busy.  Wednesday night, Ventura County’s eight hospitals were basically full, with nearly a thousand patients. Some 421 of them were there with COVID-19.

More than 80 were in intensive care units, leaving only a half dozen open and staffed ICU beds countywide.  So far, hospital personnel are handling the surge in the county, but they admit the tough part is knowing if people had taken precautions, this could have been prevented.

Dr. Mark LePore is an ICU physician at Ventura County Medical Center.  He says having enough staff is the key issue.  They’ve been able to fill some of the gaps in resources, but it takes people to care for those who are ill.

Jones says staffing is stretched now, and there’s really little ability to beef it up because of the specific training someone like an ER doctor or nurse needs.

LePore says front line medical teams are hanging in there, but he admits the concern is the situation could go from bad to worse in the next week to two weeks.  Public Health officials say that’s when we could see a Christmas related surge on tope of the current surge.