L.A.’s Covid Catastrophe: 70 People Being Treated In A 29-Bed Emergency Department; Black Community Hit Hard As County Virus Deaths Cross 9,000

The CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles on Tuesday pointed out the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the black communities, announcing that the small medical center is overloaded with patients and 70 people in a 29- Bed emergency room.
"The African American community has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and we see that in southern Los Angeles ... and we see that in the hospital, too," said Dr. Elaine Batchlor during a video conference held by Covered California Black residents must be insured and vaccinated if the shots become available to the public.
"We now have more COVID patients than hospitals three to four times the size of us," Batchlor said. “The test site on our campus has a COVID positivity rate of 25%, compared to 12 to 13% in the entire district. We are a small community hospital with 131 beds and have already exceeded our surge capacity. We started this morning with 206 patients in our 131 bed hospital and 70 patients in the emergency room - that's a 29 bed emergency room. "
Los Angeles County as a whole reported an additional 88 coronavirus-related deaths and 12,954 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19. The new deaths have pushed the cumulative death toll from the virus past the 9,000 mark. The number of people hospitalized in the county is now officially 5,866, although the state estimate for the county tops 6,000. L.A. County has seen more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in the past two weeks.
L.A. had 5,866 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Tuesday, 20% of them in intensive care. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 again reached a new high. The daily number of hospital stays has increased by more than 2,700 patients per day for the past two weeks, when 3,113 people with Covid-19 were hospitalized.
Peter Lee, director of Covered California also highlighted the impact the pandemic is having on the black community, saying 70% of black Americans know someone who has died or been hospitalized from COVID, compared with 60% of Latinos and 50% of the time Whites.
"The COVID pandemic is hitting the African American community more than any other," Lee said. "Now the good news is that the vaccines are with us now, but most of us won't get those vaccines until 2021. There is also cause for concern. Black Americans - only 40% say they would be taking a vaccine now. That's far below rates in other communities. About 80% of Asian communities say they are likely to be vaccinated, 60% of Hispanics and whites. "
Lee, Batchlor and other medical experts urged residents not to hesitate to get vaccinated.
"When the vaccine is available and proven to be safe and effective as the vaccines are, take the vaccine," Lee said.
Dr. David Carlisle, President / CEO of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, said all color communities should take the virus seriously and not hesitate to get vaccinated.
"COVID-19 has spread like wildfire in color communities, especially African American communities, especially Latino communities and other color communities as well," he said. "If you look at the numbers ... they're pretty clear. Latinos are 2.7 times more likely to test positive. Among African Americans, anyone I've spoken to personally knows someone who died of COVID-19. That is an enormous burden. "
He compared the vaccine to buckling up in a car accident and called it a critical means of defense.
"These vaccines offer hope where there hasn't been for so many months," said Carlisle. "We hope we can use the vaccines to eradicate COVID-19 and lower those infection rates, but to do that people have to take the vaccines."
The City News Service contributed to this report.
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