As Los Angeles County’s hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, EMS workers in the nation’s largest county were told Monday to ration oxygen. EMS crews were also directed on Monday to not transport patients if paramedics are unable to resuscitate in the field.
The directives come on another deadly day for the county. Seventy-seven coronavirus-related deaths were reported in LA County on Monday, but officials stressed that delays in reporting over the holiday weekend meant the true number may have been higher
In a Monday news conference, health officials said that LA County could soon average more than 1,000 deaths per day.
EMS crews were told to only administer supplemental oxygen to patients who have oxygen levels below 90%.
The crews were also told to not transport patients who cannot resuscitated in the field, and pronounce them dead at the scene. This has been done as hospitals in the area have faced a shortage of rooms.
Public health officials in LA County addressed issues in the supply chain with providing oxygen to patients. Officials from the county’s public health department said that materials such as canisters and tubes are scarce.
Los Angeles County has more than 6,200 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday. Those ages 50-64 make up nearly 40% of those hospitalized, while those ages 18-49 make up 30%. Most of the remaining people hospitalized are over age 65.