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California city has seen more deaths by suicide than coronavirus: doctor

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The head of a California hospital’s trauma team says his area has seen more death from lockdown suicides than from the pandemic itself.

“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” Dr. Mike deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, just outside of Oakland, told ABC7 of the apparent mental health crisis.

“I mean, we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks,” he told the station, which did not give figures to back the claims.

Walnut Creek is in Contra Costa County, which as of Saturday had recorded 1,296 coronavirus cases, with 36 deaths.

DeBoisblanc believes the mental health cost proves “it’s time” to end the shelter-in-place in the county of more than a million people, he told the station.



His colleague, Kacey Hansen — a trauma nurse at the hospital for 33 years — says the focus on treating COVID-19 has also meant they have not able to save as many suicide patients as usual.

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“I have never seen so much intentional injury,” she told the station.

John Muir Health told ABC7 that it “encourages” its staff to “participate constructively in these discussions,” while stressing it is “supportive of the Shelter-in-Place order” in Contra Costa County.

“We all share a concern for the health of our community whether that is COVID-19, mental health, intentional violence or other issues,” it told the station.

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