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L.A. paramedics directed to not transport patients with 'little chance of survival' amid virus spike

ICU beds are near capacity in L.A. with over 6,000 COVID-19 patients being treated.

Published: January 5, 2021 10:37am

Updated: January 6, 2021 9:13am

Southern California is experiencing a wave of coronavirus cases with more than 6,000 patients in Los Angeles hospitals, and ambulance workers are being told to not transport patients with "little chance of survival."

The directive was obtained by CNN from the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency that gives directions to ambulance crews.

Intensive care unit beds in L.A. county are nearly full, according to news reports. And paramedics in the county are being told to determine whether transporting a patient is worthwhile and to conserve oxygen, with 90% oxygen saturation levels being considered sufficient.

Emergency workers are instructed to "perform resuscitation for at least 20 minutes" if a patient’s heart has stopped, instead of taking them to a hospital. If their patient stabilizes after resuscitation, paramedics can then transport them to the hospital. 

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, on Monday created a task force to "evaluate and upgrade outdated oxygen delivery systems" at six L.A. hospitals.

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