A former Riverside department store will serve as the second federal field hospital in Riverside County to handle sub-acute coronavirus patients, freeing up space at other medical facilities where more serious cases are treated, county officials announced Thursday.
“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.
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.
“This facility will ease the burden on our local hospitals during the pandemic, which will allow them to perform more effectively for everyone,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “On behalf of our local medical community, I appreciate the county’s efforts to increase capacity in our area.”
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 existing 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 heroic efforts to treat more patients in need.”
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 is reporting 1,280 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 33 deaths. About 125 patients are listed as recovered.
More information is available at https://rivcoph.org/coronavirus.