Three East Bay hospitals struck by 1,200 registered nurses began hiring non-union personnel and accepting additional patients, a spokesman said. "We bottomed out in admissions, but we have hired some nurses and are beginning to admit more patients," said Carl Smith, spokesman for Alta Bates and Herrick hospitals in Berkeley. The nurses, whose contracts expired July 31, walked out at Alta Bates and Herrick on Aug. 7. They struck Providence Hospital in nearby Oakland on Aug. 4. In another development, lab workers presented the hospitals with a 10-day strike notice, but Smith said such a "sympathy strike" would create no problems.