Federal Help Starting to Arrive at Eisenhower Wednesday

Taylor Martinez

RANCHO MIRAGE (CNS) – Federal medical personnel will begin arriving at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage Wednesday to assist the Coachella Valley hospital, which is experiencing staffing woes due to an influx of COVID-19 patients.

The roughly 20-person team, which includes doctors, physician assistants, critical care nurses and respiratory technicians — all active military members — will be available to start deploying to the floor on Friday after an orientation, according to Dr. Alan Williamson, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

“Right now, we have a physical capacity to care for more patients, but it’s very difficult for us to find the staff,” Williamson told City News Service.

Eisenhower Health is one of three hospitals in the Coachella Valley. It is approaching its roughly 400-bed capacity, which was about 80% full as of Tuesday afternoon, Williamson said.

If additional beds are needed, the hospital’s surge plan can accommodate them, according to Williamson.

However, the hospital is almost out of available staff members to tend to the remaining beds yet alone the beds that could be created with equipment on-site.

The hospital’s intensive care unit only has enough people to staff three more beds, he said.

“There’s really not a lot of resources out there for anyone,” Williamson said. “We’ve tapped into all the nurses that we can find.”

This shortage spurred the hospital to reach out to Riverside County for extra staff, which in turn alerted the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which sent the team.

The federal personnel are scheduled to be on site for approximately 30 days.

The announcement comes as 536 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 countywide as of Tuesday afternoon, 25 more than Monday. This includes 136 patients in intensive care units.

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