Updated 3:47 p.m.
California is expected to see a surge of coronavirus patients in mid-May, according to the state’s projections. Until then, Gov. Gavin Newsom is shoring up hospital beds, staffing and equipment.
The governor, surrounded by workers installing ventilation tubes, delivered his daily coronavirus update Monday on the floor of the arena that formerly housed the Sacramento Kings. The facility is being converted into a temporary hospital to treat around 400 COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms as soon as April 20.
“We thought we were done with this arena when we moved out” in 2016, said Kings owner Viviek Ranadivé. “Hopefully it will play its part in contributing to the state.”
The beds at the arena make up only a fraction of the 50,000 additional Newsom is working to secure ahead of an expected surge of coronavirus patients.
Hospitals were originally on the hook for about 30,000 of those beds, but Newsom said they have capacity to create thousands more. That leaves the state to secure fewer than 20,000 beds — around a quarter of which Newsom said have already been “locked in.”
At least 550 beds aboard the USNS Mercy, a Navy hospital ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles
220 beds at Seton Hospital in Daly City
266 beds at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles
520 beds at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa
246 beds at Porterville Developmental Center in Tulare County
120 hotel rooms in San Carlos in the Bay Area
2,000 beds at field medical stations being set up at eight locations around California, including San Diego, Fresno, Shasta County and Butte County
Another 5,000 beds have been identified and are being negotiated, Newsom said.
The state and California hospitals are working to acquire and refurbish thousands of ventilators, though Newsom announced early Monday that he was loaning out 500 of the machines to the National Strategic Stockpile to help other states being hit by the virus.
The governor called it a “moral and ethical responsibility” to help those most in need. He noted that the ventilators are “lent, they’re not given,” and will return to California if needed.
“We looked at conditions on the ground and we feel confident in our capacity to meet our needs as we support the needs of others,” Newsom said.
The governor has continued to ask Californians to stay home, which he says is the best way to prevent spreading the virus.
“Physical distancing is working,” he said. “The models mean nothing if we begin to step back and change our behavior by getting cabin fever and no longer practicing physical distancing.”
A week after he called for help from additional health care workers during the pandemic, Newsom said a “jaw-dropping” 81,000 people have submitted applications on HealthCorps.Ca.Gov — more than double the 37,000 he originally asked for.
Those potential workers are currently being screened.
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