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How local hospitals are handling coronavirus surge

Eisenhower health

Governor Gavin Newsom is sounding the alarm as coronavirus cases double in our state.

News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay looked into how the surge is impacting local hospitals.

Eisenhower Health said they are putting their surge plans in place. Desert Regional Medical Center said they feel prepared but will ramp up staff if needed.

“Going into the holiday season in the position we are in right now is really the worst-case scenario that anyone ever talked about," Chief Medical Officer at Eisenhower, Dr. Alan Williamson told News Channel 3 on Monday.

As coronavirus cases double in the state, here in the Coachella Valley Eisenhower Health said they are seeing the same trend at their hospital.

“About 10 days ago we really saw a sudden uptick in the number of cases here where we basically doubled the number of cases and actually continued to go up a little higher than that," Dr. Williamson said.

There are currently 33 coronavirus patients at Eisenhower. The hospital said they are seeking more staff ahead of the holiday season.

“Because this is now a nationwide epidemic and we know seeing the news every single night that hospitals are strapped to their capacities so they’re going through the same things in finding more staffing so its really become essentially a bidding war to get additional staff to help,” he said.

Williamson added that it's unlikely the military will help out again like they did over the summer but they are receiving more nurses through Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert's nursing program.

The makeshift field hospital at the Indio fairgrounds remains ready for overflow if needed but Riverside County Public Health said right now they are not adding staff there or to the fairgrounds testing facility.

“We are working on a plan right now where we’re going to be making some changes and adding some locations because we are soon going to be adding the self-testing capability,” Senior Public Information Specialist for Riverside County Public Health, Jose Arballo told News Channel 3.

Dr. Williamson said we need to continue to hunker down and says it’s critical to avoid ‘covid-fatigue.’

“There is hope that we will get through this before too much longer but unfortunately there’s still another four to five, six months where we just need to practice good basic public health measures until we can get that vaccine out and really distribute it into the community,” Williamson added.

He also shared we’re looking at late spring to early summer when we’ll see the majority of the people getting vaccinated.

Riverside County said they may release more information about the new testing and self-testing locations before the end of the week. Stay with News Channel 3 on-air and online for that update.

Coronavirus / News Headlines / Top Stories

Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.


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