The NY TIMES recently ran an article about the explosion of COVID cases at the St John’s ICU (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/01/us/covid-santa-monica-icu.html), and noted that many of the cases were actually discovered in the ER. As someone who was, unfortunately, in need of ER assistance recently (entirely unrelated to COVID), I can sympathize with the concerns of the ER medical staff: of the 10-12 poor souls stuck in the ER for hours and hours on a Tuesday evening, maybe 4 were homeless people; they all either refused to wear masks, or refused to wear them properly.

They were asked repeatedly to put masks on, were offered clean, fresh masks, but the minute staff turned their heads, the masks came off or were pulled down. I complained — yes, complained — several times to the non-medical staff about the unsafe conditions in the middle of the latest surge, but they did nothing. Finally, I told the staff behind the reception desk that I felt unsafe and would wait outside on the bench. Chilly, but safer, I sat there for a few hours until called in. I was seen for about 45 seconds by an MD, and asked her to do something about the mask situation in those brief moments of care. I got an eye roll and some antibiotic cream for an infected finger.

Next time I need ER assistance, I will make the drive to UCLA or Cedars.

Bill Fordes, Santa Monica