SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With COVID-19 cases on the rise, San Francisco health officials announced Thursday they would be opening up a continuing medical care facility in the Presidio to allow for more beds to be freed up in local hospitals to handle the current surge.
San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said the facility will handle non-COVID-19 patients who require short-term, non-intensive medical care that normally would be treated during an extended hospital stay.
If and when it is needed, the facility will be ready to serve up to 93 patients. Currently, the empty building is being converted and was hoped to be completed in the near future.
“The current situation with COVID-19 is serious,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a release. “We can’t afford to let our guard down. We must continue to do what we can to prepare for a surge in cases, while at the same time working to slow the spread of the virus in our community. We know that if everyone does their part with social distancing and face covering, we’ll be able to get the virus under control and won’t need to use this facility.”
“But, if we do, the continuing care site in the Presidio will be an important part of our City response to make sure we’re able to care for those in need.”
San Francisco — which remains on the state COVID-19 watchlist — currently has 6,423 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. A surge in April put 94 San Franciscans in the hospital; the number dipped to 26 six weeks ago. As of Thursday, there were 107 City residents in the hospital. One quarter of them are in intensive care.
“Since before San Francisco recorded its first case of COVID-19, we have taken a proactive approach to prepare and protect the community,” Colfax said. “Early public health orders to shelter in place, require social distancing, and temporarily close non-essential businesses have saved lives. But now, as cases surge, we are keeping a close eye on hospital capacity, continuing to expand testing, and working closely with our communities on safer practices.”
The continuing care facility will act as a hospital relief valve to ensure the city keeps hospital beds available for anyone who needs acute care during and after a COVID-19 surge. If a patient’s condition worsens while at the continuing care site, they will be transported by ambulance to a hospital.
The new facility will be located in a rehabilitated building in the northeastern corner of the Presidio.