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LA’s Falling ICU Bed Capacity Is Scary News for Everyone, Restaurants Included

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Plus, Inglewood’s old-school Serving Spoon, a restaurant resiliency fund for LBC, and plant-based dim sum

Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Hospital during the coronavirus pandemic. Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Intensive care unit bed capacity continues to diminish quickly in Los Angeles County, even as the county continues to reach new daily highs in coronavirus infections. The new one-day case total for Thursday stands at a staggering 12,741, while ICU availability fell to 7.7 percent — nearly 50 percent below the threshold set by California’s statewide Department of Public Health that led to the current stay-at-home order and regional shutdown of things like on-site outdoor dining.

Per the Los Angeles Times, LA County is seeing double the number of “daily coronavirus cases than it saw on Nov. 30, and quadruple its daily coronavirus cases since mid-November. Cumulatively, L.A. County has tallied 488,519 coronavirus cases and 8,151 COVID-19 deaths.”

The health department suggests this surge is due to Thanksgiving gatherings and people meeting with those outside their households. With ICU availability shrinking, those who experience heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, or any non coronavirus-related injuries might have trouble not just in finding a bed in a hospital to occupy, but in actually seeking care as medical professionals find themselves spread increasingly thin.

If ICU availability continues to drop, the county or state could take further actions to keep people in their homes and curb gathering points. They include: Closing more retail sectors, blocking access to beaches and parks, and mandating a limited travel area for individuals, as has been used in other countries. As for restaurants, they continue to be listed as essential services and are available for pickup and delivery only. With ICU bed capacities continuing to fall, it’s not likely the state will reintroduce on-site dining any time soon.

In other news:

  • Inglewood’s old-school breakfast/daytime spot the Serving Spoon received a $50,000 donation from LA Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and his wife to help stay afloat, according to NBC-4. The 37-year-old restaurant setup a GoFundMe to help with staff and expenses which already exceeded its $75,000 goal without Whitworth’s contribution.
  • The Los Angeles Times asked four longstanding restaurant owners what it means to be a neighborhood restaurant in a pandemic, including the Serving Spoon’s owners Angela and JC Johnson, along with Boyle Heights El Tepeyac Cafe, Tallyrand Restaurant in Burbank, and Mi Piace in Pasadena.
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia believes the incoming Biden Administration will prioritize a stimulus package in January. On Tuesday, the Long Beach City Council approved a $5 million resiliency fund they plan to gather from federal assistance to help restaurants, breweries, and bars impacted by coronavirus, writes the Long Beach Press Telegram.
  • The Long Beach Exchange complex added a new tenant this fall. Morning Night offers plant-based dim sum, and will ultimately function as a bar, restaurant, and speakeasy when dining-in restrictions are lifted.
  • In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky questioned the constitutionality of judge James Chalfant’s finding that LA County health “acted arbitrarily” when deciding to close outdoor dining back on November 25.
  • This Saturday, local bakeshop Flouring LA — owned by chef Heather Wong — will host an outdoor holiday dessert pop-up from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m at Hotel Figureoa. The $44 box of sweets includes gingerbread cake bars, brownies with peppermint meringue, cinnamon-sugar donuts, and Belgian sea salt chocolate chip cookies. This pop-up is pickup only. Since first responders are staying at the hotel, customers can also purchase a slice for them too.
  • Four outdoor Manhattan Beach restaurants were ordered to cease outdoor dining by the health department this week. The Beach Reporter reports that Simmzy’s, Tacolicious, Nando Trattoria, and Pancho’s defied the LA County order. These restaurants are on the resistance battle lines, as is the City of Manhattan Beach, who recently repurposed newly closed outdoor dining areas as public seating to double as dining areas.
  • Santa Monica’s Birdie G’s is slinging fried chicken. Chef Jeremy Fox took organic and free range chicken and made it gluten-free, dairy-free, and offering chicken fingers, half-chicken options, plus a $75 whole chicken dinner with sauce, salad, and fries. Use the Rustic Canyon app to order, pickup is between 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Birdie G’s restaurant’s fried chicken in Santa Monica, California.
Birdie G’s fried chicken
Lindsey Huttrer