The number of Californians hospitalized with the coronavirus surged to a record high for a fourth straight day — soaring above 8,000 amid continued concerns that a sustained spike in patients may eventually swamp the state’s healthcare system.

Though the 8,517 hospitalizations seen Tuesday are unprecedented, officials caution that it likely doesn’t represent the ceiling of the latest COVID-19 surge, as the figure largely excludes anyone who was only recently infected, including over the Thanksgiving weekend.

“We do have a choice to make, each one of us: Do we want to be part of the solution to this horrifying surge, or do we want to be the problem?” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a briefing Wednesday. “Because where you fall in this effort now has a life-or-death consequence, possibly for people you know and love, but certainly for people across the county who are loved by others.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom sounded the alarm on the state of the state’s hospitals earlier this week. Unless things change, he said, California could exceed its existing intensive care unit capacity by mid-December, a possibility he warned could require dramatic action to keep from becoming reality.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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