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Hospital unit dedicated only to COVID-19 patients opens in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – To help prepare for the expected surge in cases, San Francisco now has a hospital unit dedicated only to COVID-19 patients.

On the 6th floor of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, a unit is now open dedicated to only those with the coronavirus.  

“The unit opened with 10 beds, can expand to 40 beds and will do that in 10 bed increments and also have an 8 bed critical care unit associated with it if those on the unit got sick enough to need ventilators or higher levels of care support,” David Klein said. 

The unit had been used as an overflow area during busy times, but after discussion with the San Francisco Hospital Council, the mayor’s office and the Department of Public Health, it was identified as the spot that would be quickest to press into service.

“We have the two hospitals here in the city and Sequoia in Redwood City so we reached out to volunteers and had a number of nurses and staff that wanted to come and staff the unit, if we do grow we will likely look  at other resources for staffing,” Klein said. 

The St. Francis Foundation and UCSF Health have each earmarked a million dollars to help fund the unit.  

Right now, it has 5 patients, but that is expected to grow which will also increase the need for personal protective equipment.

“We have not run out of everything and we measure our burn rate based on the number of patients and we are constantly looking for new vendors and we think the supply manufacturers are ramping up. So not in the situation where we had inadequate supplies but I think if we were in a situation with an overflow of patients we would reach out to our partners and pool our resources,” Klein said. 

Klein emphasizes none of this could get done without the dedication of doctors, nurses and other staff.

He says they are the real heroes.

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