SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said the state was making solid progress in meeting goals for the number of medical sites, available beds and personnel California will need to meet the anticipated surge of coronavirus patients.
The governor provided the information during his update to the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, speaking from Sleep Train Arena, the former home of the Sacramento Kings that is in the process of being converted into a medical facility.
Newsom said that the goal for what he called “Phase 1” of the state’s response through the end of April was to have 50,000 beds available to accommodate the spike in patients as cases of coronavirus surges into mid-May.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
As of Monday, the governor said California had over 14,000 cases of coronavirus with 1,085 COVID-19 patients in ICU and 2,509 hospitalized.
Newsom noted that the state’s effort began back in January with repatriation flights from China and early work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal government’s respective agencies. The efforts were brought further into focus with how the state worked with federal agencies after the arrival and evacuation of the Grand Princess cruise ship.
Newsom said that much of the state’s efforts have been in acquiring assets to fight the coronavirus outbreak, particularly the acquisition of hospital sites and alternative care sites to accommodate the anticipated case surge.
Newsom said that the state had locked in over 4,500 bed sites covering every major region of California. Among the hospital sites acquired were Seton Hospital in Daly City, St. Vincent Hospital in Los Angeles — which is set to be operational on Monday, April 13 — and the USNS Mercy currently docked in Los Angeles.
As far as alternative care, Newsom said a variety of sites had been organized by county and state officials working in partnership as well as a number of federal medical stations. Sleep Train Area, the site Newsom spoke from on Monday, is in the process of being set up to provide 400 beds for patients either being discharged or with mild to moderate symptoms.
Sleep Train will be ready to open for the treatment of patients on April 20, according to Newsom.
Newsom said the state was on schedule to acquire the 50,000 beds for mid-May surge. So far, the state has had over 81,000 medical professionals apply to help on new website set up by state last week for staffing.
The state plans to secure some 20,000 beds in total to support overwhelmed medical facilities across the state. Hospitals are also expected to expand their number of beds by some 30,000. All told, the surge in beds will expand the state’s number of beds from 75,000 to 125,000, according to Newsom.
“This is an all hands on deck effort, and I am extremely grateful to all of our partners in the medical community, the private sector and across government for helping us get this far,” Newsom said. “All of these efforts will only pay off if we continue to slow the spread of the virus.”
Newsom said the state was trying to obtain more personal protective equipment, noting that California would need to continue to procure more ventilators, masks, gowns, building out inventory for the expected surge.
“We‘re not naive. We continue to procure more ventilators, not just gowns, masks, coveralls, shields; these N-95 masks in particular. We continue to do everything in our power to build out that inventory,” Newsom said. “It’s a three-legged stool: you need the place, you need the people and you need the protective gear.”
The governor also mentioned that the state had sent 500 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile to help New York and other states that are in immediate need of the devices. He assured reporters that those ventilators would be returned to California when the time came.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Randadive also spoke about making Sleep Train Arena available as a medical site and why it was important to the Kings organization.
As he has at all of his recent press appearances, Newsom reiterated the importance of social and physical distancing for California residents, praising the state on how abiding by shelter in place orders had helped limit the spread of COVID-19, but reinforcing that the effort needs to continue.