An ominous summertime spike in coronavirus cases across Southern California has packed hospitals and made front-line workers’ already stressful jobs even more exhausting.

The number of people hospitalized each day with confirmed virus cases in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties climbed from about 2,200 on June 15 to more than 4,000 by July 13, state data show.

While hospitalizations appear to have leveled off, deaths are now being reported at record levels in the four counties.

The numbers mean more sick people are coming through emergency-room doors. And from Torrance to Orange, and Moreno Valley to the San Fernando Valley, nurses, doctors and others are scrambling to help them.

To do so, they’re skipping lunches, breaks, vacations — even drinks of water.

Because of the soaring stress, a nurse anesthesiologist in Orange County — who once believed she was working her dream job — is now considering other work. Others are determined to bravely continue serving COVID-19 patients, but fear they’ll get sick. Or worse, that their loved ones will fall ill.

One Inland Empire doctor was so worried he might pass the virus to his newborn son that he built a floor-to-ceiling plastic barrier in his home.

Here are the stories of eight front-line hospital workers confronting the surge head on.

Nilu Patel, a certified nurse anesthesiologist at UC Irvine Medical Center, seen Monday, July 27, 2020, works with COVID-19 patients. “I still love what I do, but it’s much more stressful,” she said. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Nilu Patel, a certified nurse anesthesiologist at UC Irvine Medical Center, seen Monday, July 27, 2020, has to insert breathing tubes for COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Nilu Patel, a certified nurse anesthesiologist at UC Irvine Medical Center, is seen Monday, July 27, 2020, next to “The Healers Touch” statue that honors nurses. Patel works with COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Dr. S. Tom Yadegar, a pulmonologist and medical director of the intensive-care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley, says “it eats at your soul” when a patient dies. He has been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 since March. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Dr. S. Tom Yadegar, a pulmonologist and medical director of intensive-care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley, also worked with HIV patients years ago. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Dr. S. Tom Yadegar runs the intensive-care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley. (Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Registered nurse Brittany Jimenez, 28, stands outside Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley after a 12-hour shift Friday morning July 24, 2020. She works in the hospital’s three intensive-care units, including the one that has COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Registered nurse Brittany Jimenez, who works at Riverside University Health System Medical Center, is seen Friday, July 24, …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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