A former department store will serve as the second federal field hospital in Riverside County, freeing up much-needed space at other medical centers where more serious cases are treated.
The shuttered Sears building at Arlington and Streeter avenues has been designated as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' new medical station, complementing one already established at the county fairgrounds in Indio. The converted building will be used to ease the burden on area hospitals treating those infected with the novel coronavirus.
How Long Until Coronavirus Will Cause Peak Hospital Use Across the Country
This interactive chart uses model data provided by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to predict how the coronavirus will affect health care resources in different states. The maximum hospital bed use in some states, such as New York, has already passed while in others it is weeks away. Most states have enough general hospital and ICU beds to meet demand, according to additional data from The Associated Press.
Sources: State hospital bed capacity data from the Associated Press. Model data provided by IHME. Note: The model assumes full social distancing through May 2020.
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC
Local news from across Southern California
"There will be many folks who'll need care when our hospitals start taking hits, and this second station means we'll have the same added capacity in our western county as we do in the east," county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said.
Photos: This Is Daily Life Around SoCal in the Shadow of the Coronavirus Pandemic
According to a Riverside University Health System statement, the 125-bed facility will house stable, less severe patients, which will allow greater capacity in the county's hospitals to respond to the needs of more critical patients.
Supervisor Karen Spiegel said the location will supply sorely needed bed space, enabling medical teams to continue their efforts.
California National Guard personnel are in the initial stages of preparing the facility for full operational status, but it was unclear specifically when it will begin accepting patients. Once it's up and running, about 30-40 medical professionals will be staffing the location 24 hours a day, officials said.
Along with hospital beds, there will be portable sinks, medication tables, protective gear, including masks, and other equipment available at the site, according to RUHS.
As of Thursday, the county was reporting 1,280 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 33 deaths. About 125 patients are listed as recovered.
California saw its first daily decrease in intensive care hospitalizations during the coronavirus outbreak, a key indicator of how many health care workers and medical supplies the state needs, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday. The rate of all virus hospitalizations has slowed this week. Those in the ICU need the highest level of care, and so it was particularly encouraging that the number of patients in those rooms actually dropped 1.9% on Wednesday to 1,132.