SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – UC San Francisco Health began accepting patients Wednesday at a new Mount Zion medical center ward reserved for COVID-19 coronavirus patients.

The ward includes 46 acute care beds and seven intensive care beds that are outfitted with ventilators. The ward will serve as UCSF Health’s primary coronavirus care facility.

Patients with comorbidities will receive more intensive care at UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at UCSF’s Parnassus Heights facility. Moving patients to the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion will also free up beds at the Diller Medical Center for complex procedures like tumor removals and heart surgeries.

“The patients who have been waiting for these specialty procedures have the potential for their disease to worsen while they wait and many have nowhere else to turn for the highly specialized care that UCSF can provide,” said UCSF Health Chief Medical Officer of Adult Services Dr. Adrienne Green.

UCSF officials began identifying potential coronavirus inpatient areas at its medical centers in March. They identified a pair of floors at the Mount Zion complex that hadn’t been used for inpatient care in more than five years.

In addition to installing ventilators in the intensive care rooms, revamping the two floors included adding video call technology in each room, converting double-occupancy rooms to single-occupancy and resuming hospital food service for patients.

“Our team came together with a goal of achieving in 43 days what normally would have taken more than six months to complete,” said Sheila Antrum, a registered nurse who serves as UCSF Health’s chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. “This could only be achieved through strong collaboration across clinical departments, support and core services.”

UCSF medical workers are working with the Chan Zuckerberg Institute and the city of San Francisco to expand local testing capacity.

UCSF Health has also sent nearly 50 doctors and nurses to New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico, which are both major coronavirus epicenters.

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