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California hospitals struggle financially after preparing for COVID-19 surge that never came

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - As the novel coronavirus tore through Italy and then New York in March, California, anticipating a deadly surge in cases, ordered hospitals to shut down routine procedures and called in thousands of health care workers to help patients.


But the predicted surge never came.


And the cost of all that preparation - setting up field hospitals, doubling the number of intensive care rooms, purchasing protective equipment - dealt a blow to hospital bottom lines, while the ban on all non-emergency procedures cut revenues in half.


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