COLTON — Nine patients awaited their fate in an intensive care unit at the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
The youngest was 26, the oldest 66. Four of them had already been intubated, a last-ditch effort to save their lives. Inside fourth-floor rooms bare of decor, they lay alone in the dark, flat on their belly and sedated because the pain of the tube running down their throat would be too great otherwise.
The number of COVID-19 patients in the unit on Wednesday morning was about double that of a couple of weeks ago. But this was a different kind of surge from last winter, when the hospital saw well over 100 COVID patients at its peak and had to create a makeshift ICU out of the post-anesthesia care unit.