California officials announced that the state had recorded its second-highest number of daily COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday since the beginning of the pandemic, losing 459 lives.

The newest numbers bring the state’s total death toll to 2,504 as the country records more than a quarter-million of new cases in the last week. The surge is a grim sign that threatens to overwhelm hospitals and intensive care units that are already struggling to provide the necessary care.

COVID-19 Spike

The president and CEO of the California Hospital Association, Carmela Coyle, noted the extraordinary spike of numbers. She added that the state’s assistance is necessary in providing the required care to reduce the number of people suffering.

Coyle said Newsom’s administration should quickly assist state leaders in providing sufficient care to residents. She added that the California governor is responsible for the red tape that is restricting medical workers. State officials did not immediately respond to Coyle’s criticisms on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 virus has been kept at bay in California in the past few months but is now surging across the state. Newsom argued that the inoculation of residents was too slow to keep up with the speed of infections.

The worst-hit part of California was the southern region, as the rest of the state is experiencing critical numbers of available intensive care unit beds. Officials said that the lack of space forced patients to be placed in cafeterias, corridors, and tents.

Experts believe that the state’s condition would only worsen in the next few weeks as about 12% of new COVID-19 cases would later need hospital care. Medical officials added that about 12% of hospitalized patients would need more thorough intensive care that hospitals are severely lacking right now.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County recorded a staggering 258 new coronavirus-related deaths. Compared to last December, the number of new cases in California’s most populated county has since doubled.

“This is a health crisis of epic proportions,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. The Director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services, Dr. Christina Ghaly, noted no hospital in the region was efficiently rationing patient care.

Southern California’s Methodist Hospital in L.A. County formed a team that aimed to make daily assessments to evaluate the severity of critically ill patients. Chief Strategy Official Cliff Daniels said the data would allow them to distribute resources properly, prioritizing those who need them more.

Worsening Conditions

Daniels argued that the state has not yet seen the inevitable surge of new cases after residents ignored public health orders and traveled during the holidays. The Methodist Hospital’s website put up guidelines that warned patients who were considered unlikely to survive the virus would have their resources re-allocated to other, more needing victims.

San Diego County authorities expected a surge of new cases after studying the travel data of residents during Christmas and New Year. County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the new variant of the virus threatens to infect more people and noted there have already been 28 confirmed cases of the variant with 12 more potential cases in the region, KTLA reported.

Santa Clara County residents were urged to follow public health guidelines to reduce the number of infected patients coming into hospitals. The county has experienced the pandemic’s worst surge of cases since it began in March last year.

The county’s director of Healthcare System Preparedness, Dr. Ahmad Kamal, revealed an average of 1,000 people were tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the United States every day. The medical professional added that about 10% of those new infections were admitted to hospitals every day.

“And as awful as it is, it could get worse. We haven’t had a situation where two people are out of breath, and one person gets a ventilator. We could get there,” said Kamal.