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L.A. County Supervisor Asks USNS Mercy to Return in Wake of COVID-19 Surge

L.A. County Supervisor Asks USNS Mercy to Return in Wake of COVID-19 Surge

The situation is reportedly so dire that officials told L.A. ambulance crews not to transport patients who have little chance of survival and save oxygen.

A Los Angeles County supervisor asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to request that Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy return to the city’s port to help hospitals battling COVID-19.

In a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, LA County’s fourth district Supervisor Janice Hahn said hospitals in Los Angeles are reaching a “breaking point” due to the amount of coronavirus cases and asked Newsom to request hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) come to the city’s port.

“We must continue to do everything within our power to fully support our health care providers as they battle this pandemic on the front line inside our hospitals. I also ask that you call on our federal partners to bring back the USNS Mercy with accompanying medical staff to the Port of Los Angeles. Emergency departments throughout LA County are overwhelmed and cannot take in all patients in need of urgent care,” Hahn wrote in the letter.

“The USNS Mercy can add more emergency care capacity for patients not suffering from COVID-19 related health complications,” she continued. “This will in turn alleviate the burden on hospitals, so they can focus on severely ill COVID-19 patients.”

The ship is currently docked in Portland.

That naval ship, the USNS Mercy, is currently dry-docked in Portland, undergoing heavy maintenance for at least the next several months. In fact, the Mercy sailed to Portland only weeks after it steamed away from Los Angeles in May, its nearly 1,000 hospital beds having gone largely unused during the initial pandemic wave, which pales in comparison to Southern California’s current crisis.

Fortunately, the hospital ship seems to have avoided an attack from AntiFa. That shows a rare display of good sense from the group, as attacking the USNS is a war crime.

The situation is reportedly so dire that ambulance crews have been advised to cut back on their use of oxygen and not bring any patients with virtually no chance of survival to the hospitals.

The measures were taken as circumstances are expected to become even worse in coming weeks, when patients sickened over the Christmas holiday will need treatment, leaving officials desperate for ways to increase capacity and triage care to focus on the sickest patients.

…Throughout the coronavirus-clobbered county, hospitals are moving to rapidly discharge ill patients who, in normal situations, would stay for continued observation. That has helped, but officials fear the flood of new patients — many with COVID-19 — is outpacing their ability to move less critical patients out.

In a sign of the strain the surge is putting on medical supplies needed for severely ill patients, the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency issued a directive Monday that ambulance crews should conserve oxygen by administering it only to patients who have oxygen saturation levels below 90%. To reduce demand on hospitals, the agency last week issued memos directing ambulance staff not to transfer to hospitals most patients who have virtually no chance of survival.

A little farther north, a San Jose hospital worker donned an inflatable, air-powered costume to spread cheer in an emergency department on Christmas Day. Now the hospital is seeing a serious COVID-19 outbreak.

Hospital officials said 44 staff members tested positive between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 in the emergency department at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. One emergency department worker who had a shift on Christmas died from COVID-19 complications.

“Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent and quite accidental, as the individual had no COVID symptoms and only sought to lift the spirits of those around them during what is a very stressful time,” the medical center’s senior vice president, Irene Chavez, said in a statement to NPR. “If anything, this should serve as a very real reminder that the virus is widespread and often without symptoms, and we must all be vigilant.”

Hospital officials are investigating “whether the costume, which did have a fan, was a contributing factor” in the outbreak, Chavez told The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the governor is complaining the vaccine rollout has been too slow in this state.

Only about 35% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses that have arrived in California have been administered so far, a rate Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged Monday was “not good enough” as he pledged new funding and efforts aimed at ramping up the rollout.

California has received just under 1.3 million vaccine doses, but only a touch more than 454,000 people have actually received the shots, according to figures Newsom presented.


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I totally believe they’re running out of Oxygen.

This is incredible.

First, we have a crisis of people being transported to LA area hospitals under critical care conditions. The question is why? If a person is encouraged to see a medical professional as soon as certain symptoms manifest themselves, then there should be few critical care cases being transported and admitted. This indicates a breakdown of the total health care system, not simply an increase in a respiratory infection.

Second, releasing critical care patients, prematurely, simply means that they will return, probably in worse shape than they were in before. So, another non-solution to the “problem”.

Third, paramedics do not have the authority to deny a patient established medical treatments. If the long established protocols call for oxygen to be administered, then to withhold it makes the paramedic and the government for whom he works liable for any negative results of that decision. As to the availability of oxygen, that is no problem. Not only can if be concentrated from the surrounding atmosphere. but it comprises 1/3 of the water on the planet. The only shortage is with gas bottles and government funds to purchase the gas.

This is just another scam, and a deadly one at that.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Mac45. | January 5, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    And poor planning. Where are the National Guard and Army Reserve Mobile Hospitals? Why has the government failed to train new medical techs and support personnel? All those people thrown out of work by the government. We were they not recruited to go through medical training to serve as a medical reserve? Why was medical equipment and production capacity not increased? Why do we not have warehouses full of ICU equipment and the ability to quickly set up new facilities like in hotels or warehouses?

    The point of the lock down was to “flatten the curve” to allow the system to cope with the onslaught and expand capacity.

    How do they NOT know who to vaccinate? They had a year to compile places and names and assign priority codes. They had a year to train people to give the vaccinations. They had a year to figure out how to get the vaccine from the production locations and into the arms of the anxiously waiting people.

    Why don’t they at this point just say “COVID vaccinations available at (fill in the place)”, advertise, and let people who want it stand in line to get it?

    Yes, let’s make government in charge of our health care. Oh yes, please. It’s science they will do a better job, you know. Someone with a PhD created a model that said so. It’s irrefutable, and if you try, you are a dangerous denier, and will be cancelled. Shut up and conform. Remember, we can classify you as non-essential anytime we please.

    Really, are they this incompetent? Or are they up to something else. Likely both.

    mark311 in reply to Mac45. | January 5, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    You are assuming that people do actually go when they develop symptoms. It may well be the case that they either ignore them or downplay them until they become more severe. That’s how my brother got infected another member of staff came in even though they had symptoms ended up giving it my brother who was out of action for 3 weeks

    Bartlett in reply to Mac45. | January 5, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    First, when you call 911 we normally roll a critical-care-capable unit whenever we can. And if you called because you had a stroke, or a heart attack, or have other critically altered vital signs, you’re “critical care” by default. Nowhere in the article does it say that patients aren’t coming to care when they should, but it’s not unreasonable to think that people who have been terrorized by the threat of a dangerous virus will wait longer than they should. In fact, patients will wait longer than they should pretty much regardless of terror. It’s called “denial” and it’s really common for people who become unexpectedly ill. This isn’t a breakdown, it’s a fact of life, albeit one that may be exacerbated by fear of the coronavirus.

    Second, nobody is releasing critical care patients. Again, I’m not sure where you read that, but in the article they talk about releasing observation-class patients – ones who are sick, and we might keep an eye on them for a while, but who don’t need inpatient treatment. We routinely release such patients if we feel that they can monitor themselves or can be monitored by loved ones in a home setting, as long as we believe that they will not decompensate quickly. We do a lot of this with home care and home interventions. Again, not a breakdown but staff and providers are probably looking more closely for opportunities.

    Third, if you actually read the memo referenced, it’s simply a directive that ambulance staff not start oxygen without a good reason to do so. Saturations under 90% are one indication, but so are several others, and titration to higher levels is called out for specific conditions that require it. It allows exceptions and explains the rationale. It’s signed by a physician (the EMS medical director for LA County) and it’s not only legal, it’s good medical practice. And yes, paramedics have all the authority they need to follow it without fear of liability. Whether they do, and whether it makes any difference to the current shortage of medical-grade oxygen, remain to be seen.

      mark311 in reply to Bartlett. | January 5, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Interesting thank you for your insight

      Mac45 in reply to Bartlett. | January 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      I have not read the memo, so it is possible that paramedics and ambulance crews have not been told NOT to transport living patients who are not likely to survive. If paramedics encounter a patient, in obvious need of immediate medical care, who is still alive, and fail to render aid they are in a world of legal hurt, if the person dies. As to the administration of oxygen, that is related to the protocols in place for the symptoms displayed by the patient. A person who exhibits o shortness of breath, should not fall under a medical protocol which suggest oxygen be administered. If an ambulance company or rescue service has policies in place to administer oxygen to all patients, then that policy has to be changed or the employee and his employer can be held liable for any damage that occurs due to lack of oxygen.

      As to why people with obvious illnesses would not go to a physician when they show symptoms, that is on the public health leaders. People routinely go to doctors, clinics and ERs for everything including the sniffles. Especially if the have Medicare, Medicaid or good private insurance coverage. The main reason why people do not do to their doctor, at thee moment, is because they are afraid to do so. And, most patient, who do not require physical monitoring have traditionally been sent home with a follow-up appointment and a prescription. Has this changed significantly?

      The point being, there does not appear to be any need for either the number of admissions or the claims that even the O2 is running low.

    Scams are all they have left.

    That gruemsome PhD paid 500k PER YEAR, that somehow is LA’s top medical decision maker will do ANYTHING to keep her 500k salary.

    All our governments are totally corrupt.

    If you are on welfare (much of LA is, including free healthcare), and you sneeze, you call your 911 red limo to take you the ICU, where you are not appropriately admitted, other than for the scam’s statistics.

Clearly lockdowns work.
Clearly masks work.
Clearly social distancing works
Clearly the virus is not seasonal.
Clearly they are not yanking our chains

We’ve come to a place where nothing can be believed.

I asked my nephew, who lives in Brooklyn, if he knew anyone who had had COVID. One person….and that man thought “he was gonna die”.

I had the flu 45 years ago. I thought I was gonna die.

What’s the difference between then and now?

I stayed in bed for about a week…and got better. Amazingly enough, even though it was flu season and many others got the flu, society wasn’t shut down and I didn’t go to the hospital.

I haven’t had the flu or anything else similar since that time 45 years ago. Even though I’ve gone through a couple of pandemics. At least I’ve been told that since I don’t remember. In those 45 years I never even thought about it when it was flu season. If someone was around me who was sick, I moved away from them. Simple, isn’t it?

Now, if someone feels the way I did 45 years ago, I guarantee you that 90% of them will head to the ER. That’s why the hospitals are full of patients who really should be home…if they really are full. Frankly, I don’t believe a word that anyone in the media says.

Brave Sir Robbin | January 5, 2021 at 1:44 pm

“Now, if someone feels the way I did 45 years ago, I guarantee you that 90% of them will head to the ER. That’s why the hospitals are full of patients who really should be home…if they really are full.”

Because they have been told they are going to die and/or kill everyone else.

The powers that be are dancing around hoping the masses will not realize how stupid and malevolent they have been. Because when they do…..

USNS MERCY? Nope. No,no. Fossil fuel powered. All that carbon. Why does Gov. Newsom hate the environment?


“LA County’s fourth district Supervisor Janice Hahn said …”

When I read that any politician, government official, or fake news purveyor “said” something, I presume that it is false or distorted unless confirmed by more reliable evidence.

2smartforlibs | January 5, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Liberal utopia in action.

How does the shortage of ICU beds and other hospital beds in the OCT/NOV/Dec/Jan 2020/2021 compare to the same periods in 2016/2017/2018/2019?

Without context of the usage in prior years, you cant ascertain whether there an actual crisis or simply a talking point

    mark311 in reply to Joe-dallas. | January 5, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    I don’t know about bed useage but the death rate has spiked compared to other years. That’s strongly suggestive of increased bed useage

    randian in reply to Joe-dallas. | January 5, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    UK media proclaims an NHS crisis every winter. Somehow they get through it. I suspect the same exaggeration is being done here.

      mark311 in reply to randian. | January 6, 2021 at 8:31 am

      That’s a resource issue, The NHS has been underfunded for many years and the front line staff end up having to work twice as hard to cope. The recommended levels of drs and nurses are typically not matched by what they actually have. So the NHS still functions but not at peak efficiency this leads to measurable performance criteria and standards dropping. It works but not as well as it should if they were given the resources.

ScottTheEngineer | January 5, 2021 at 3:03 pm

” the agency last week issued memos directing ambulance staff not to transfer to hospitals most patients who have virtually no chance of survival”

They specifically said they are asking ambulance services to not bring patients to the emergency room that have no pulse and aren’t breathing. They dont put dead people in ICU. And never have.
ICU beds are normally 90% full. The actual number is fungible. They can assign more or less beds to ICU based on needs. It’s a budgeting issue.

This is fear porn.

    Surely icu beds are located in a specific dept though? With specific facilities as such there would be a maximum number of icu beds to accommodate the worst cases?

      Bartlett in reply to mark311. | January 5, 2021 at 3:21 pm

      It’s a little of both. ICU beds need technology (monitors and the like), but what they most need are nurses with significantly different training, at a lower nurse:patient ratio than you find on a general medical/surgical floor. We can move the technology around and while it’s not cheap, we can be inventive. So while you can’t create intensive care units without limit, you can definitely flex the numbers if you have the staff.

Rather than a battleship, how about a warship to level the county seat and city hall. We’ll thank them for the rest of our lives.

Adding anthropogenic oxygen depletion to anthropogenic carbon dioxide pollution surely be the end of the planet as we know it.

The Friendly Grizzly | January 5, 2021 at 4:23 pm

My very best friend lives in Los Angeles county. He is a lefty, but at least capable of thinking, and holding a discussion. His opinion is too many people are ignoring the lockdown orders, and in his words “are partying and having a good time, and not exercising social distancing”.

The same thing is true here in my town in north eastern Tennessee. Folks are being quite lax. They’re not being stupid, but they’re not locking themselves away. Oddly enough, we have Covid cases, but nothing on the scale of what they’re having there. I’m being sarcastic when I ask could it be that we don’t have shut down rules in the first place?

    The Wuhan Virus is both difficult and easy to catch, and is both extremely severe and relatively mild. It’s NOT SIMPLE, and that makes it difficult for people to think properly about it.

    My family has several at-risk members, so we have been doing extreme hunkering since March. In spite of this, I did something extremely foolish recently which landed me in in-house quarantine for 10 days. Fortunately, God was gracious and all three tests were negative. My thinking has been improved.

    One principle from investing is helpful to keep in mind. “Past performance is no guarantee of future behavior.” Just because you haven’t gotten infected doing something so far doesn’t mean you’re not going to get infected the next time you do it.

    In Los Angeles, there is a large population on welfare and an ever larger population who get free public health care (from a state program called “Medi-Cal”).

    Much of this population is also disfunctional, having disproportionate numbers of in prisons, etc. Being disfunctional, they also ignore many Covid safety considerations.

    This population thinks nothing of calling 911 for the slightest medical issue, nor appearing in every major hospital ER for the their primary care. When they get “covid symptoms”, they call 911 or appear at an ER, clogging the system.

    The people living normal lives in Tennessee who get symptoms of Covid likely pay for their own health insurance, and don’t call 911 for a doctor home visit, nor do they go to an ER for primary health care. So while they get symptoms, they are not clogging hospitals, and not creating bogus statistics that the swamp is trying to panic the nation with.

    In other words: Covid is the flu. But to the swamp, it is a tool of fascist control. It’s working as one in LA, which will be on a perpetual modified lockdown for years to come – all while LA and CA leaders go out and eat and otherwise party like it’s 1999.

the agency last week issued memos directing ambulance staff not to transfer to hospitals most patients who have virtually no chance of survival

So what’s the plan then, take them off the ambulance gurney, set them on the ground, and let them rot where they lie?

“We’ve come to a place where nothing can be believed…”

It’s a good place: at least we know how to move forward.