July 9, 2020 at 12:23 AM EDT
Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states
Coronavirus patients are pouring into hospitals across the American South and West, straining front-line doctors and nurses and draining supplies of protective gear and testing equipment, according to health-care workers around the country.
In pandemic hot spot states such as Florida, Arizona, California and Texas, hospitals are adding new intensive care unit beds and special airflow systems to treat the growing demand as virus hospitalizations set records almost daily. To cope with the wave of patients, hospitals are canceling elective surgeries to free up space for those sick with the virus.
Health-care workers in hard-hit states say they are rationing protective gear such as N95 masks so they don’t face severe shortages like in the early weeks of the pandemic. Some say they use one mask per day now, as opposed to throwing them out after each patient.
By Chelsea Janes, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Lenny Bernstein and Josh Partlow