Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misreported how Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center was revamped to provide space for additional patients. The video has been removed, and the story has been updated.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — In the early days of the pandemic, the state used hospital ships and the Sleep Train Arena as surge centers, with some spots to handle overflow COVID-19 patients while others were reserved for those with different health needs.
The recent spike in coronavirus cases due to the omicron variant means the state is once again looking to find the extra capacity to care for Californians.
Kaiser Permanente usually uses its facilities for member patients only, but through a new partnership with California, some beds will be open to anyone with any insurance.
“There’s always layers of mitigation in a hospital when they think about ‘what if’ situations. If we have an increase in need, how do we meet that need?” explained Dr. Matthew Eldridge, chief of infectious diseases at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. “This space had a pre-existing purpose, but obviously, with the surge of cases and with the collaboration of the state, we were able to repurpose this to meet the needs of where we are today.”
Nearly 87,000 Californians are being diagnosed with COVID-19 per day.
That means all available space to treat them is at a premium at hospitals across the state, leaving little room for those who don’t have COVID-19 but still need care.
Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center revamped some clinical and rehabilitation spaces into a facility that can handle patients right away, with little to no difference in the features found in a traditional medical unit.
California’s part in this treatment space expansion effort is providing the extra staff to care for the patients who will fill the new beds.
“In just under two weeks, we’ve stood up over 60 beds to give back to the community in order to take care of our community during this surge,” said Trish Rodriguez, the senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center.
The surge arrangement is up and running, but it is temporary and will last only until the COVID-19 case crunch subsides.