SAN DIEGO COUNTY, California — More than 330,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began and that number is expected to go up as more cases are reported during the holiday season.
In San Diego County, health officials say Coronavirus deaths are taking a toll on families and hospital staff.
A local hospital administrator says this was one of the deadliest weekends they’ve had so far in the pandemic. And the strain of all this is especially hard on the staff that has to witness it all, while trying to stay safe too.
“I’m almost pleading. Please, please stay at home!” Scripps Health CEO/President Chris Van Gorder said. “I worry about the staff. They're working very, very hard. Many of them are taking on extra shifts during the week.”
Frustrations continue to mount from hospital staff across the region as coronavirus cases keep rising and the capacity to help people keeps falling.
“We've got people dying, you know, in our hospitals. Over this last weekend, we had one day where ten patients died. I know Sharp had a very similar day with 10 patients died. COVID patients died. We had four this morning, got reported,” Van Gorder said.
In San Diego County, there were over 1,500 COVID-19 related hospitalizations reported as of Sunday, almost 400 of those cases are in ICU. In Los Angeles County, there are nearly 7,000 hospitalizations. And throughout the state, another 50,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported.
Funeral directors in California say the pandemic is stretching their limits like never before and they too are operating under strenuous conditions.
Bob Achermann is the Executive Directory for CA Funeral Directors Association, “As people call in, they may have to tell a family that they simply can't help them because they don't have the capacity to do so,” Achermann said.
Van Gorder says his own hospital staff is contracting Coronavirus, putting even more strain on an already, overwhelmed workforce. “We’re getting to the point now where this really is a crisis. We’re not making this up. If you were to go into a hospital and you don’t want to be in the hospitals right now, staff is really stretched. We’re running out of resources,” he said.