The availability of intensive care unit beds throughout Southern California hit 0% last week, and officials warned that conditions in hospitals were expected to erode further if the coronavirus continued to spread unchecked.
An ICU, or intensive care unit, is a specialized hospital department that cares for people in the most critical health situations, such as those with life-threatening injuries or severe illnesses. ICUs are equipped with specialized equipment, such as ventilators.
Most important, ICUs are staffed with highly trained nurses and physicians who provide round-the-clock care to their patients — checking their breathing, blood pressure, fluids and other vital signs. Dr. Shruti Gohil, an infectious disease specialist at UCI Health, said there was a 1-to-1 ratio of nurses to patients in ICUs.
Here are images from area hospitals where healthcare workers are laboring, treating a flood of COVID-19 patients.