As the local hospitals experience a surge in COVID-19 patients, they have been diverted and sent to other places, according to the Imperial County Health Department.
The health department held a press conference on May 20 to update on the actions that will be taken due to the recent surge. A federal medical station will be installed at Imperial Valley College.
Chris Herring, Emergency Services Manager at the Imperial County Health Department, said that 40 people have been transported to other medical facilities in Southern California but didn’t say where they were taken.
Herring announced that there will be a Federal Medical Station that will be located at Imperial Valley College. The gymnasium will be converted into a temporary mobile hospital. The building will be handed over to Imperial County and the college districts will not have jurisdiction over that building.
The local health department in collaboration with state and federal representatives will be in charge of the daily operations. There will be no walk-ins to the mobile hospital.
Managed by the Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS), federal medical stations (FMS) are rapidly deployable caches containing beds, supplies, and medicines which can quickly turn a pre-identified building into a temporary medical shelter during a national emergency.
Care can be provided for 50-250 displaced people for three days before resupply is necessary. The FMS offers health and medical surge capability and capacity for short-term inpatient persons who have sub-acute medical, mental health, or other healthcare needs that cannot be accommodated or provided for in a general shelter.
El Centro Regional Medical Center said the hospital took in 65 COVID-19 patients on Monday night, Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley admitted 28. The hospital will not take COVID patients and will be sent somewhere else.
The Emergency Room will be open to non-COVID patients. He said the number of cases increased overnight and believes the rise was due to U.S. citizens coming from Mexicali.
A diversion occurs when a hospital’s emergency department is unable to accept new patients by ambulance. When both hospitals are on diversion status, ambulance patients will be transported to other regional hospitals that can accommodate them.