Local hospitals increasingly slammed as COVID infections surge

Coronavirus

LA MESA, Calif. – The recent surge of coronavirus infections in San Diego County has hit local hospitals and their numerous front-line workers hard.

At Sharp Healthcare, some workers say they are exhausted from working long hours to help the sick. Hospitalizations have nearly tripled in the past month and workers say they’re seeing many more patients than they had several weeks ago.

“We’ve been doing this for seven-plus months,” Sharp Grossmont administrative liaison Colleen Murphy. “It has been relentless for us. To have a spike like this — it’s exhausting.”

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported that 692 coronavirus patients were hospitalized as of Monday, with 180 of them being treated in intensive care units, up from 671 reported on Sunday, 636 on Saturday, and 580 last Wednesday and Thursday.

The county crossed 400 hospitalizations on Nov. 17, 500 on Nov. 23 and 600 last Friday.

The number of people with COVID-19 in area hospitals has nearly tripled from one month ago — 239 were hospitalized on Oct. 30.

In total, the Sharp Healthcare system currently is treating 270 coronavirus patients. And following the Thanksgiving holiday, that number is likely to grow.

“We’re very concerned about what happened with Thanksgiving and primarily those people who chose to travel, chose to group, and go unmasked,” Murphy said. “What we’re concerned about is five, seven, 10 days down the road, what are we going to be at if this is where we are now?”

Starting Dec. 14, the state is requiring all state hospitals to begin weekly testing of health care staff and patients.

“Now’s the time for all medical centers to step up, help stop the spread of COVID and test all health care workers,” registered nurse Shannon Cotton said.

As the holiday season approaches, health care workers continue to plead with the public to do its part to stop the spread of the virus.

“We really need to support from the community to understand to wear a mask, distance, wash your hands, stay home if you can,” Murphy said. “That’s a very little ask.”

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