LA County Ambulance Staff Told To Limit Oxygen Supply During Higher COVID-19 Surge

Reports have come up that on Monday, the EMS workers were told to ration oxygen to hospitals in Los Angeles County overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Followingly, the Emergency Medical Service Agency issued a directive on Monday with details of the decision.

LA County Ambulance Staff Told To Limit Oxygen Supply During Higher COVID-19 Surge

The directive suggested excluding situations like oxygen for medication administration, and CPAP may be used when needed., patients need positive pressure ventilation due to respiratory failure and certain specific conditions. These interventions should be limited to patients with severe respiratory distress. 

According to the directive, the EMS should only administer supplemental oxygen to patients who have less than 90% of oxygen saturation, since the acute need is covered to conserve oxygen. 

On the same day the directive was issued, reports came from the county with 7,697 hospitalization cases due to the coronavirus. Among them, around 21% are in intensive care units. Around 791 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 after the surge of the COVID-19 at the beginning of November 2020.

The officials of California recently said that they are in turmoil to bring sufficient oxygen cylinders to terribly affected patients. This supply issue would cause hospitals to declare an internal disaster and could turn the ambulances away. 

Generally, COVID patients need 60-80 liters of oxygen in a minute. Other patients require 6 liters per minute. L.A. County’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser said that the officials are searching for all possible ways to cut down the hospitals’ burden.

He continued that many actions were taken to improve the coordination to identify patients who really need to be hospitalized and shift them into available beds, rather than to stack up ambulances outside an emergency department.

The agency also issued memos in the last week in which the ambulance staff was asked to avoid transferring patients-who are less likely to survive-to the hospitals. 

Reports from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health said that within a few weeks, the cases in the county reached around doubler as the cases reached more than 800,000 on Jan. 2, from 400,000 numbers on Nov. 30. 

Officials are in a panic since the chances are great in the county to have a huge increase in cases related to the winter holidays.

A state oxygen team was created by California to tackle this situation, and the Army Corps of Engineers crews recently reached to update the systems of oxygen delivery.

The Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci said that California is going ahead with works to support their hospitals and guard the precious lives of the coronavirus impacted people in California. They also would improve the ability to deliver life-sustaining medical care to people who need it.

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