SUTTER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — With a surge of coronavirus patients expected to flood into local hospitals, some counties are worried about not having enough hospital beds to treat them.
In an effort to be prepared, Yuba-Sutter Emergency Services is replacing basketball hoops with beds and blankets, transforming the gyms at River Valley and Yuba City high schools into make-shift hospitals.
Emergency Services spokesman Russ Brown told FOX40 they’ll be able to care for up to 500 patients between the two gyms.
“It’s called surge capacity. And that is, what happens if we suddenly have a large number of patients that need help overwhelm our current hospital and care system? How do we take care of everybody as best as possible?“ said Brown.
Brown said the county will bring in cots, showers and medical equipment in preparation and that the extra capacity is desperately needed.
The Yuba-Sutter area has one main hospital, the Adventist Health and Rideout Medical Center, with just over 200 beds for patients.
“Make sure we have plenty of resources in the event we do run into this situation where so many people come in that they overwhelm our hospitals,” Brown explained.
These alternate care facilities will be staffed with nurses and doctors but they’re not meant for the most seriously ill patients.
“The people that have recovered to the point where they can be brought out of the hospital but still need to be monitored and have their medications checked,” said Brown.
Brown explained the open layout of the gym will help health workers care for multiple patients at once, but he’s still hoping these alternate care sites won’t need to be used.
“They’re necessary if the community itself doesn’t do its job of taking care of itself and isolating itself. We have two places ready to take a large capacity. I hope the community turns around and says, ‘We’re not going to let that happen. We’re going to take the tough stand of staying at home.’ It is very difficult. We understand that but it will slow down the spread of this virus,” said Brown.
Brown told FOX40 that they’re planning to have these sites ready for patients in the next two to three weeks, all depending on when shipments of equipment arrive.