SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - Santa Clara County officials are preparing for a projected influx of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks.
Friday morning was the start of a 12-hour flurry of activity inside the dormant Santa Clara Convention Center. About 35 California National Guard members helped transform the 262,000 square foot space into a medical overflow site.
“What you’re seeing here is one side where you would have males or females. And in-between the rows you’d have nursing stations,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, director of the Santa Clara County hospital surge planning division.
She said 250 cots and beds are being set up to care for non-acute coronavirus patients, those who don’t require the use of a ventilator. Officials say the extra space will free up doctors and hospital beds to care for those critically ill from COVID-19.
“Patients who are COVID-19 positive who are well enough to leave the hospital but don’t have a safe place to return, can come here for on-going care,” said Tong.
Last week, the Trump administration ordered eight federal medical centers set-up in California. Managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the sites are designed to allow large spaces to temporarily provide hospital-level during a national crisis.
County officials say the 2million-plus South Bay taxpayers won’t be stuck with an exorbitant tab for services.
“What’s great about this, is that it comes with its own doctors its own nurses, its own equipment, its own medication. So it’s not taking anything away from our current system,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
Volunteers will staff the medical center, but Santa Clara County could provide supplemental staffing All incoming patients here will be tested and assessed before being admitted. And then once admitted, they’ll stay for the standard 14-day quarantine period.
County officials say the federal medical station could be ready the week of Mar. 30 through Apr. 3, but an opening date is undetermined.