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Los Angeles Reportedly Calls In The National Guard To Help Remove Corpses Amid COVID-19 Spike

(Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

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The National Guard has reportedly been called to Los Angeles to help overwhelmed county workers dispose of bodies due to a spike in coronavirus cases.

Hospital morgues have become filled as private mortuaries are running out of space, according to The Los Angeles Times. The National Guard is now helping workers move corpses into storage at the L.A. County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner, according to the report.

As conditions worsen in the state, doctors, nurses and paramedics are also being forced to make decisions as to who gets care and at what level, according to the report.

“No one would believe this is in the United States,” Scott Byington, a critical care nurse at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood said, according to The Times. “Everyone is doing what they can do. It’s not that anybody is slacking. It’s just that it’s too overwhelming for everyone.”

Byington said on a recent shift, a sick patient had to be treated in the ER hallway because the hospital had run out of space. Unfortunately the patient did not survive, according to the report.

A team of health care workers including physicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants, and respiratory specialists wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while turning a patient from their stomach onto their back in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Renown Regional Medical Center on December 16, 2020 in Reno, Nevada. - Renown Health converted two floors of a parking garage into an alternative care site for Covid-19 patients to increase hospital capacity amid a surge in cases, allowing other facilities to be used for patients in more serious condition. The site included the addition of flooring, electrical infrastructure, lighting, water, technology, sanitation, and ventilation. President Trump earlier this month retweeted a tweet that described Renown's structure as "the fake Nevada parking garage hospital" due to a lack of patients in the picture taken before the facility opened. The site is for patients that have mild to moderate Covid-19 cases and do not require critical care, with 24 patients currently and 350 patient visits to date. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

A team of health care workers including physicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants, and respiratory specialists wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while turning a patient from their stomach onto their back in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Renown Regional Medical Center on December 16, 2020 in Reno, Nevada.  (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

“When it came time for them to pass, they passed in the hallway.”

County officials are also worried that patients could suffer strokes, heart attacks and seizures while they wait in ambulances outside of hospitals as space indoors becomes non-existent, The Times reported. (RELATED: Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya: Lockdowns Haven’t ‘Contributed In Any Meaningful Way’ To California’s COVID-19 Death Toll)

Cathy Chidester, director of the county Emergency Medical Services Agency said that in order to deal with the large influx of patients, 9-1-1 patients with a do-not-resuscitate directive will not be taken to acute-care facilities like a hospital. Some trauma patients whose hearts have stopped will also not be taken in, according to the report.

Emergency medical services providers can also decline to take low-risk patients to hospitals, The Times reported.

As of Wednesday the county reached 10,000 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, recording 262 deaths that day alone which broke the single-day record for COVID-19 deaths, according to the report.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that the more contagious mutant strain of the virus from the United Kingdom had been found in the state.

Regional stay-at-home orders in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley were extended indefinitely as of Tuesday due to the dramatic spike in cases.