Direct Relief Delivers Oxygen Concentrators to California Covid Hotspot

Shipment comes amid large-scale shortages of oxygen at L.A.-area hospitals taxed by Covid-19.



Emergency medical supplies, including 200 oxygen concentrators, are prepped for shipment on Jan. 12, 2021, at Direct Relief's warehouse. The shipment was delivered to Lancaster, California, where medical staff are working to treat an influx of Covid-19 patients. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

This week, Direct Relief hand-delivered 200 oxygen concentrators to Los Angeles County, where health care facilities are reporting severe oxygen shortages amid a record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations.

The oxygen concentrators will enable hospitals in the area to safely discharge patients who are stable but require at-home breathing support, while making room for those in need of intensive care.

Since January 2020, Direct Relief has delivered more than 3,400 oxygen concentrators to hospitals and critical care facilities in the United States and abroad. Today’s delivery, which was facilitated by Community Partners International, represents Direct Relief’s largest single donation of oxygen concentrators since the start of the pandemic.

In addition to oxygen concentrators, Tuesday’s shipment also contained powered-air purifying respirators, or PAPRS, for Antelope Valley Hospital.

Antelope Valley Hospital–one of the facilities receiving aid from Direct Relief–is the only full-service acute-care facility serving Lancaster’s Antelope Valley community.

Nestled in Northern Los Angeles County, the facility is facing one of the most severe Covid outbreaks in the country. Cases per capita are among the highest in Los Angeles County, which itself is a national Covid hotspot. Reporting an average of more than 15,000 cases per day, the county has the second highest case rate per capita in California, behind Riverside County, according to data collected by the L.A. Times. And nationally, Los Angeles County is the fastest growing Covid hotspot in the country, according to data collected by Direct Relief’s research and analysis team.

While statewide hospitalizations plateaued this week at a record 21,654, Los Angeles County facilities remain inundated with critically ill patients, forcing some to turn away ambulances or treat patients in makeshift hospital rooms, as reported by the L.A. Times.

Meanwhile, several L.A.-based hospitals are reporting critical shortages of oxygen needed to support patients whose breathing has been compromised by the virus. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deployed crews to update oxygen delivery systems at 11 L.A. County hospitals after a handful of emergency departments shut down ambulance traffic due to a shortage of oxygen, according to the L.A. Times. Upgrades are currently underway, according to local news reports.

Direct Relief is working to address these shortages and relieve pressure on hospitals by supporting facilities like Antelope Valley Hospital with critical medical supplies.

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