San Francisco building temporary hospital to free up beds for COVID patients

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco city officials are predicting another large surge in coronavirus cases.

To get ahead of the curve, the city announced its building a new temporary hospital to free up beds for COVID patients.

The new hospital will open for non-covid patients who need short-term medical care or observations.

San Francisco’s health director isn’t sugar coating things. On Thursday, he said we are in a “major surge” of coronavirus cases, which is why the city is opening a new facility on Gorgas Avenue in the Presidio, to be proactive, rather than reactive.

The city says the hospital will open with 20 patients, but has a capacity of up to 93 people.

As San Francisco braces for a “major surge” in coronavirus cases, the city will soon open a temporary hospital in the Presidio for non-COVID patients to free up beds for COVID patients.

“It took us 38 days to go from 2,000 to 3,000 cases. It took just half as long to go from 3,000 to 4,000 and in just 10 days this month, we went from 5,000 to 6,000 cases of COVID-19,” Dr. Grant Colfax said.

Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health, says cases are rising at alarming rates.

The city currently has 6,423 people with COVID-19.

A surge in April put 94 people in the hospital. That number dipped to 26 six weeks ago and as of Thursday, 107 patients are now in the hospital with the coronavirus — a quarter of them in intensive care.

“Let me be clear, we are in a major surge of COVID-19,” Dr. Colfax said. “The virus is moving fast and more people are getting seriously ill.”

As hospitals expect to see more coronavirus patients, the city will use the new facility off Gorgas Avenue to care for up to 93 non-COVID patients who need short-term medical stays.

“This new low acuity medical center is an in-patient facility,” San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani said. “The patient staying here will receive treatment at this location in lieu of hospital care or they will be transferred from a hospital.”

The city says it hasn’t overwhelmed its health care system yet, and they hope to keep it that way with this new facility.

Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF, says planning will be the most important in the coming months.

“Anticipate badness instead of reacting to it. When you react to bad stuff, you do it hastily and you cut corners,” Chin-Hong said. “When you can plan and do things methodically because you can think about what are the limitations of health care personnel to staff this new facility which is something you can’t just do overnight.”

The city hasn’t released an official target date yet but we expect to see things moving here soon.

The new facility is a reminder of how important it is that we do our part, that we wash our hands, remain socially distant and wear our masks.

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