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Newsom Preparing For COVID-19 Surge, Adding 50,000 Hospital Beds

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Sacramento, CA — Working to relieve pressure on area hospitals, Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday updated an expanded bed count at makeshift facilities coming online, including a basketball arena.

It was at the former Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento that the governor shared the latest regarding the state’s COVId-19 response.

To date, up to 4,613 additional beds at alternate care sites and former hospitals are available for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients as more capacity is still being finalized. Plans are to add 50,000 beds to the existing hospital capacity of nearly 75,000 beds.

At least 30,000 beds — over 60 percent — will come from within existing hospitals with the state securing the 20,000 remaining ones.

“California has been working closely with hospitals to aggressively expand our state’s ability to treat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients,” Newsom reported. “As a result, California is adding tens of thousands more hospital beds, sourcing and distributing lifesaving medical supplies and ventilators, and significantly expanding our health care workforce.

He continued, ” This is an all hands on deck effort, and I am extremely grateful to all of our partners in the medical community, the private sector and across government for helping us get this far. All of these efforts will only pay off if we continue to slow the spread of the virus. Staying home will save lives.”

In addition to the former Sleep Train Arena, now dubbed Natomas Arena, which will have a 400-bed capacity, the governor listed several other alternate care sites that will be providing care for less sick patients, freeing up hospitals to focus their resources on those with the most acute needs. The sites include eight federal medical stations now operating or setting up across the state providing up to 250 beds; Fairview Developmental Center, which can provide up to 520 beds; Porterville Developmental Center, whose maximum capacity is 246 beds; San Carlos Hotel, providing up to 120 beds; and CPMC – Pacific Campus with a maximum capacity of 291 beds.

The state has also leased Seton Medical Center in Daly City and St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles which will be respectively providing 220 and 266 potential beds. The US Naval Ship Mercy, based in the Port of Los Angeles, has a maximum capacity of up to 550 beds.

Alternate care sites will be staffed using a number of resources, including the newly established California Health Corps, made up of health care providers, behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators who sign up to work at alternate care sites.

Supplementing the existing state health care workforce, as reported here last week, the corps has been busily recruiting underutilized and underemployed professionals along with qualified student, retiree, and out-of-state health care providers.

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