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CA National Guard setting up federal medical station in Indio


The California National Guard arrived at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio this morning at around 10:30 a.m. The National Guard will help set-up a portion of a federal medical station at the fairgrounds.

Riverside County Officials also addressed the public Tuesday morning. Officials further discussed the medical station, including how it will provide extra bed capacity for coronavirus patients. The 125 bed temporary facility is being set up by the National Guard this morning. Chairman Manual Perez, Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz and health officials spoke at a news conference followed by a tour of the facility.

Michael Osur, Chief health director, was in attendance and spoke on the expectancy of when the hospital will open. He said he expects the facility to be up and running within the next 10 days. He adds, this will only be possible once the facility is built, inspected, and staff is hired. Osur also reiterated the importance of staying home, washing your hands, and keeping distance up to six feet away from others during this pandemic.

During the conference Rep. Raul Ruiz refers to the Coachella Valley as a vulnerable area for high mortality rates. He says our high risk demographic of 60 years and over has a "20 to 50% death rate," which can climb if you have heart and lung disease. Rep. Raul Ruiz was live on KESQ News Channel 3 at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday detailing the installation of a federal medical center in Indio.

Watch his interview here.

Riverside County health and emergency management officials received the federal medical station sent by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday. The station will help ease strain at county hospitals expected to be brought on by a surge in coronavirus cases.

Check out our coronavirus section for local coverage

The station will provide an additional 250 beds to the county’s overall hospital system.

“We know we’ll have more cases and some of them will be serious,” said Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser. “This medical station will relieve stress from our hospitals, allowing them to better provide higher levels of care for our sickest individuals, and get more people on the way to recovery faster.”

The federal medical station includes equipment like beds, bed sheets, portable sinks, medication and 740 complete units of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.

The remaining materials not utilized in Indio will be used to set up an identical 125-bed facility in western Riverside County. The site for the western location will be shared soon.

“I am proud our Riverside County Fairgrounds will aid in this critical mission of providing a venue for health care,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. I want to thank Congressman Ruiz as well as Assemblymembers Garcia and Mayes for their ongoing support and for ensuring that the federal medical station is established in the Coachella Valley and western Riverside County.”

Local Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz released a statement on the new station:

“On a call I made to the Governor and State Officials last week, the Governor’s office committed to me to prioritize the Coachella Valley. Today I was briefed by both the Army Corps of Engineers and the State Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Indio Field Medical Site. We will work together as federal, state and county partners to create a state managed operation to augment county and local hospital surge capacity.”

Riverside County has 70 cases as of March 24. 28 of those cases are in the Coachella Valley. There have been seven deaths so far in the county, six of those are in the Coachella Valley.

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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Jesus Reyes

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Timothy Kiley

Timothy Kiley is Assistant News Director for News Channel 3 starting in 2002 as Photojournalist.


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