During the weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom allocated $42 million in healthcare funding to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus in California.
$30 million, the majority of the amount, will go towards leasing two medical centers in California. Both St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles and Seton Medical Center in Daly City will be leased for three months by the state and will provide for a combined 500 beds to treat COVID-19 patients in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. The two hospitals join the Community Hospital in Long Beach as hospitals that have been reopened or re-appropriated by the state to treat coronavirus patients.
“California is mobilizing every part of government to support our health care delivery system, its workers, and those among us who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom during a weekend conference.
“These hospitals were either recently closed or were just being underutilized,” noted Dr. William O’Keefe, a doctor from Los Angeles. “LA and the Bay area are fortunate enough to have the extra infrastructure and readily available medical facilities like this. Other countries have been having to build makeshift hospitals in parking lots and in parks. We haven’t had to do this yet.”
In addition to the hospital leasing, the additional $12 million will be going to the expansion of the California public health lab in Richmond, more ambulances and patient transportation, and over $8 million towards buying new ventilators and IV fusion pumps.
The state also received over 1 million masks, 300,000 protective coverings, and nearly 500,000 pairs of gloves from the Strategic National Stockpile, with a request out for millions of more units, including ventilators, to hopefully be fulfilled in the near future.
“Right now the state is doing what it should be doing, which is preparing for the worst,” added Dr. O’Keefe. “This isn’t alarmist or anything, but California and a lot of states were slow to respond, so they’re making up for lost time now. Of course this means more infected, but they can put a stop to it being a bigger issue too.”
“It’s all preparation for a bigger wave of people and to help as many people as possible. Newsom’s announcement also streamlines telehealth services, which is like social distancing doctor’s visits from home. So that gives insight into all of this too. And I mean that they’re trying to keep as many people as home as possible. We all saw how many people broke it to go hiking or to the beach. Well, this is to help provide for those people that didn’t listen.”
“That’s a huge part in why the state keeps asking for more.”
While there is no current timeline for the handout of the supplies received for hospitals, both medical centers leased by California this weekend will start receiving patients next month.