The Washington Examiner:
Paramedics in Southern California have been told not to transport patients to the hospital who are less likely to survive and to ration oxygen supplies as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
In a directive issued on Monday, Emergency Medical Services Agency Director Marianne Gausche-Hill instructed paramedics not to transfer adult patients “in blunt traumatic and nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest” if successful resuscitation is not achieved in the field “due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EMS and 9-1-1 Receiving Hospitals.”
A second directive ordered first responders to administer oxygen only “to patients with oxygen saturation below 90%” and to administer “the minimum amount of oxygen necessary to maintain oxygen saturation at or just above 90%.”
The news comes as coronavirus cases in California, as in most of the country, continue to surge, with health officials bracing for a compounded surge following holiday travel and a failure to adhere to social distancing guidelines. California is the only state in the country with more than 2 million reported COVID-19 cases. The state has the third-highest death toll of any state, at 27,000 lives lost, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state’s rolling testing positivity average remains above 12%, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, slightly below the national average of 13.6%.
Los Angeles County Director of Health Services Christina Ghaly told reporters on Monday that many hospitals in the region “have reached a point of crisis and are having to make very tough decisions about patient care,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Surges in hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 typically lag behind case surges, and Ghaly said the volume of patients arriving in maxed-out hospitals in California “still represents the cases that resulted from the Thanksgiving holiday.”