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Hospital staffs stretched thin during California virus surge

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Posted at 6:16 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 09:16:22-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Medical staffing is stretched increasingly thin as California hospitals scramble to find beds for patients amid an explosion of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm the state's emergency care system.

An enormous crush of cases in the last six weeks has California's death toll spiraling ever higher.

Another 161 fatalities were reported Sunday.

All of Southern California and the 12-county San Joaquin Valley to the north have exhausted their regular intensive care unit capacity, and some hospitals have begun using "surge" space.

A nurse in hard-hit Los Angeles County estimates she's been averaging less than 10 minutes of care per patient every hour.