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California nurses fear what's to come: 'Walk down our unit for a day

california nurses
Posted at 2:46 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 17:46:40-05

With California hospitals dealing with an extreme number of patients, nurses are terrified of what’s next.

It comes as California hits 2 million infections just 44 days after reaching 1 million. Hospitals in California have been pushed to the brink, and it’s expected to get worse as people travel and gather for Christmas and New Year’s.

The state is urgently searching for 3,000 temporary medical workers to meet the demand, focusing on nurses trained in critical care. Hospitals are also confronting the shortage by trying to free up staff any way they can, including postponing certain medical procedures.

The state has also temporarily loosened some restrictions. Typically, California requires one nurse for every two ICU patients. Regulators have temporarily relaxed that requirement to one nurse for every three ICU patients.

The state has sent more than 600 temporary healthcare workers to hard-hit counties from the National Guard, the California Health Corps, and other partnerships, but officials are still looking for more.

State officials have even started reaching out to other countries like Australia and Taiwan to get much-needed medical workers.

Elected leaders and health officials across the U.S. are asking people to stay home for the holidays while also trying to show the public that the COVID-19 vaccines trickling out to health care workers and nursing home residents are safe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.