State has secured more than 4,500 additional beds for COVID-19 prep

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the state is modifying Sacramento’s Natomas Arena and multiple Bay Area sites into medical facilities to support the state’s surge in cases of the novel coronavirus.

The state has secured more than 4,500 additional beds at the arena as well as a hotel in San Carlos, California Pacific Medical Center’s Pacific campus in San Francisco, the Fairview and Porterville developmental centers and eight federal medical stations across the state. The San Carlos hotel will offer a maximum of 120 beds while the CPMC Pacific campus can offer an additional 291 beds, according to state officials.

The state plans to secure some 20,000 beds in total to support overwhelmed medical facilities across the state. Hospitals are also expected to expand their number of beds by some 30,000. All told, the surge in beds will expand the state’s number of beds from 75,000 to 125,000, according to Newsom.

“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,” Newsom said. “All of these efforts will only pay off if we continue to slow the spread of the virus.”

The state plans to staff the surge locations as well as existing hospitals through the California Health Corps, an initiative Newsom announced March 30 to pull people like recently retired medical professionals, medical and nursing students and medical disaster response team members into the state’s health care industry to help fight the virus.

According to Newsom, 81,879 people have filled out an application for the Health Corps. State officials are currently reviewing applications, and selected applicants will receive help becoming licensed or re-licensed in California, if necessary. “We have a lot of existing licensed medical professionals that are currently working that have also applied on that site to potentially be redeployed to more acute needs within the system,” Newsom said. “But it’s still a jaw-dropping number, 80-plus thousand people, that are willing to meet this moment.”

The state is also leasing Daly City’s Seton Medical Center and Los Angeles’ St. Vincent Medical Center and has access to the USNS Mercy naval medical ship to treat coronavirus patients.

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