By Jonathan Ramirez
A 125 bed field hospital has been set up at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio to help ease the strain of local hospitals anticipating a hike of COVID-19 cases.
The California National Guard did the initial set up for the field hospital over the course of 10 days.
“(The National Guard) did all the wraparound services like air conditioning, heating and all the stuff they need to make the buildings comfortable for anybody that’s staying in them,” said Shane Reichardt, the senior public information specialist for the Emergency Management Department.
This includes backup generators in case of an earthquake or electrical interference to ensure the medical equipment has the power necessary to stay operational.
The medical center on the fairgrounds is vetted by 25 individuals from the California Medical Assistance Team coordinated by the Emergency Medical Services Administration. The team is mostly composed of emergency medical technicians and paramedics, but does include a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurses and some administrative staff.
A strike team of medical personnel from the National Guard composed of one doctor, two nurses and seven EMTs will also be added, making up a medical staff of 35.
No one will be allowed into the facilities besides medical workers, county personnel and those suffering from COVID-19. Those infected with the virus and brought here will be coordinated by their hospital or their doctor’s office, but not by ambulances.
Reichardt expressed concern over the lack of personal protective equipment as the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to rise exponentially.
“As the surge develops and as we get more and more patients there is going to be some concerns over that supply chain,” Reichardt said. “And I know we have a staff of people working our county’s emergency operations center to source everything we need for continued operations and to keep our personnel and our community safe.”
The location has two buildings that will be filled with beds, patients and professional medical staff. One building will have 100 beds for general cases of COVID-19 and the other will have 25 beds for the critically infected cases. A drive up test site will also be near the location.
Residents can call 1(800) 945-6171 to schedule a drive up test. The nose swab testing process will take a few minutes per car with contact minimized to the maximum extent.
The location for the second field hospital in western Riverside county will be revealed at a later date.