Los Angeles Times

Hospitals brace for holiday COVID surge, fearing staff shortages and burnout

LOS ANGELES — Since the middle of October, doctors and nurses at Loma Linda University Medical Center had been warily watching news reports of a spike in COVID-19 patients in the Midwest. They knew that, sooner or later, their own hospital would be hard hit. They just didn't know when.

Last week, they found out. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 15 COVID-19 patients were admitted to Loma Linda, in what Dr. Michael Matus, chief of hospitalist medicine, described as "a huge rush of patients."

"We immediately filled one ward and half of another," Matus said. "It immediately strained the nursing staff. And then the physicians. We try to keep the physicians seeing up to 16 patients. That day, it was up to 24 ... . It was our biggest day in the last month."

A new surge of COVID-19 is battering Southern California, bearing down on exhausted health

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