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Answering Your Novel Coronavirus Questions, Plus A Look At How Hospitals Are Navigating The Outbreak

Healthcare workers screen a patient for COVID-19 at a drive-through coronavirus testing site.
Healthcare workers screen a patient for COVID-19 at a drive-through coronavirus testing site.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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The Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged reported no new homegrown cases Thursday, while the death toll in Italy was poised to overtake China's in a stark illustration of how the crisis has pivoted toward Europe and the U.S.

Meanwhile, hospitals across the country remain on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 as they work to navigate the influx of patients, potential bed shortages, personal protection equipment needs for employees all while keeping the facility operating 24/7. Here in Los Angeles, it is estimated that about 8% of the adult population would require hospital care. In a moderate scenario where 40% of the population is infected over a 12-month period, hospitals in L.A. would receive an estimated 647,000 coronavirus patients. The influx of patients would require 21,600 beds over 12 months, which is 3.3 times times the number of available beds in that time period. Intensive care units would be especially overwhelmed and require additional capacity. Without coronavirus patients, there are only 940 available beds on average in intensive care units, which is 4.8 times times less than what is needed to care for all severe cases.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll continue answering your questions about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the illness it causes. If you’re someone who works in hospital administration, we’d like to hear from you, too. How are you dealing with the different changes in how care is being provided? Join our live conversation by calling. 866-893-5722.

For more from LAist and ProPublica about how Los Angeles hospitals are dealing with the novel coronavirus, click here.

With files from LAist and ProPublica


Richard Riggs, M.D., senior vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center