Small Military Medical Team Making Big Impact at Rancho Mirage Hospital

Small Military Medical Team Making Big Impact at Rancho Mirage Hospital

Kitty Alvarado Connect

Riverside County is still on the state’s watch list in part because of the continued high rate of spread and hospitalizations.

Jose Arballo, the sr. public information officer with the county health department says what’s more worrisome is the spike in deaths. In the past few days the county reported about the two dozen deaths from COVID 19 just in the Coachella Valley, “They were all from relatively recent a lot of times when we have these bigger number of deaths they are over three of four weeks

All of the cases are putting a strain on local hospitals, that’s why The  60th Air Wing Medical Group from Travis Air Force Base has been helping Eisenhower Health.

The team has been at the hospital for a week.

“They’ve been totally awesome since they got here, very much a can do attitude, they hit the ground running, ready to go … and so the have really meshed well with our staff here and are doing a great job,” says Dr. Alan Williamson, chief medical officer at Eisenhower Health.  

The 21 person team made up of doctors, physicians assistants, nurses and respiratory therapists is assigned to the COVID isolation units. When the hospital reached out for help they were at 100 percent capacity in their ICU and 80 percent in the rest of the hospital.

“That would have been extremely difficult for us to maintain that level for very long because the physical and mental demands of caring for these patients is just so high,” says Williamson.

Now they’re seeing a downward trend. They have about six beds available in the ICU and the hospital is now at 70 percent capacity. That combined with the additional help in critical units is giving staff a shift to rest and administration time to plan. 

“We’re not just sitting back resting and thinking that we’ve got everything under control we’re using that time to try to be sure that when they leave we are prepared to take over completely,” says Williamson. 

While 21 people added to a staff of 2,000 doesn’t sound like a lot. The military unit is doing more than giving the staff a much needed break. 

“A morale boost just to have some outside … just really lifts your heart to know someone’s coming to help you,” says Williamson.

Williamson says he credits the community for the downward trend and he hopes it continues.

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