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County prepares for surge of COVID-19 cases

Posted at 6:40 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 21:40:59-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Today in a press conference Governor Gavin Newsom shared the importance of alternative care sites, and hospitals preparing their facilities for expansion, as COVID-19 cases are projected to rise.

Alternative care sites are meant for patients being discharged from emergency units, or have mild to moderate symptoms. So, those who need acute care can remain in hospitals.

According to the Kern County Department of Public Health the Kern County Fairgrounds is planned to be used as an alternative care site. The public health department said they are still in the planning phases and will share information as developments are made.

23ABC reached out to hospitals in Kern County to get more information on their hospital expansion plans.

In a statement, Adventist Health Bakersfield said, they have prepared comprehensive plans in anticipation of a surge of patients. They also stated they have the ability to care for more patients than their hospital capacity typically allows. In part their statement also said:

“Our plans include, among other things, transitioning non-patient areas into places where we can provide critical care, an emergency tent outside to screen patients and working with local and state healthcare partners.”

Kern Medical, the areas only trauma hospital, is currently a 222-bed hospital. The hospital said over the last several weeks they have already begun preparations and will expand their capacity as patient volumes increase. They will maintain other vital services, such as trauma and labor and delivery.

In part a statement from the hospital said their planning focuses on, “...having enough manpower, securing a continuous supply of protective equipment and materials and using our hospital and clinic space.”

Mercy and Memorial hospital said their surge plans include the three Dignity Health Bakersfield hospitals. In part a statement to 23ABC the hospital stated:

“...We have identified locations at each of our three Bakersfield facilities where we can care for infected patients to avoid exposure to the general patient population. This involves creating barriers within our hospitals and standing up surge tents, which we have done at each campus, where we can triage patients outside of our care site.”