MORENO VALLEY (CNS) – A team of federal medical personnel are lending a hand at Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where patient loads tied to COVID-19 and other conditions are taxing resources, officials said Friday.
“Riverside County hospitals have been stretched well-beyond their licensed capacities to treat record numbers of patients,” Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton said. “These (new) resources are critical to help our region treat more of our residents and get through this hospital surge.”
He said 20 U.S. Air Force and Army nurses, physicians assistants and respiratory therapists were sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to supplement staff at the county hospital, which has had to expand critical care space in previously unused rooms to accommodate incoming coronavirus patients.
“In the past week, our 439-bed hospital, which normally has an average daily census of 350 patients, has been running an average daily census of around 450 patients,” hospital CEO Jennifer Cruikshank said.
“These additional Department of Defense staffing resources come at a very important time and are breathing in a renewed energy and hope into our team that will help us continue to provide our expanded services and support the acute healthcare needs of more people in our region,” she said.
According to Barton, roughly 40% of patients in hospitals countywide are COVID-positive. He will be providing the Board of Supervisors with a complete report Tuesday on hospitals’ needs.
The county hospital’s largest clientele is composed of uninsured and under-insured patients. The facility relies heavily on Medicaid and Medicare for reimbursements. However, no on is turned away for lack of ability to pay.
According to the Riverside University Health System, in addition to the federal personnel, the California Department of Public Health has dispatched an undisclosed number of traveler nurses to the county hospital, specifically to care for patients in “surge spaces.”
COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide are at 1,611, according to RUHS. A month ago Friday, the number was 733.
The photo in this article if from Riverside University Medical Center Facebook