ICU capacity in Southern California hits 0%

On Thursday, Dec. 17, LA County health officials announced that the ICU capacity in the Southern California region has dropped to 0%. 

The ICU bed capacity reaching 0%, doesn’t mean that there are no beds available. City officials made it clear that this is not an issue of the number of beds that are available. Field hospitals can be set up and made operational within a 24 hour span, however, those who are trained to specialize in ICU care will be stretched thin. This means that patients may receive less quality care which can lead to an increased mortality rate. 

Hospitals will likely place patients into beds elsewhere, such as emergency department rooms, and open field hospitals to accommodate for overflow patients. 

The news of the diminished ICU capacity came right after the state announced the deaths of 379 Californians, the highest number of deaths in one day since the pandemic started. 

The state reported 52,281 new cases, just 1,400 less than what California saw the day before.

Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer said that daily deaths from COVID-19 in the county have spiked up 267% from Nov. 9, reaching 44 per day as of last week, and those numbers are likely to rise given recent rising death figures. 

There is some good news however, Long Beach has received their first batch of vaccines and will begin rolling out the vaccine to medical workers tomorrow. 

The first residents (Group A) to receive the vaccine will be healthcare workers in hospitals, residents and staff in nursing homes and long term care facilities, and paramedics and EMT personnel. 

Second to receive the vaccine will be healthcare workers in clinics and public health departments. And third will be dental and key pharmacy personnel. 

The second group (B) of people will be all essential workers in education, grocers, public safety officers, transit workers, and other essential workers. 

The third group ( C ) will be made up of residents over the age of 65 and other residents in critical care needs. 

All of the above groups should be vaccinated by spring of 2021. 

Vaccinations for the general public will occur at testing centers and are expected to start in late spring. That timeline can be expedited if the federal government and the state are able to acquire more vaccine doses. 

For more info on COVID-19, visit or call (562) 572-INFO (4636)