California governor says hospitals in the state need 50,000 more beds and are on the brink of a medical-gear shortage

Rich Pedroncelli/APCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom displays a bottle of hand sanitizer while saying the state would take action against price gouging because of the coronavirus, at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said California hospitals need 50,000 additional beds along with billions of pieces of medical gear in response to the coronavirus, according to a recent report.
  • The state is improvising new locations for beds on hospital campuses, in hotels, and on medical ships.
  • California is scouring the globe to find more medical equipment to avoid an imminent shortage of supplies that would jeopardize health care workers’ safety.
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California hospitals are in dire need of additional beds, equipment, and supplies as the health care system takes on the strain of the coronavirus. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state’s health care system requires an additional 50,000 beds, a billion gloves, hundreds of millions of masks, gowns, and other protective gear, according to The Mercury News.

Estimates of the necessary number of hospital beds doubled from projections state officials gave several days ago, the report said. Among California’s 416 hospitals, there are 75,000 licensed beds. For the additional 50,000 beds, 30,000 will come from within the current health care system, either put in tents or parking lots of existing facilities’ campuses, and 20,000 beds will be improvised at temporary locations like hotels.

As the state rushes to create adequate space for patients, medical gear and supplies are also steadily being used up. Models suggest the system will use as many as 200 million sets of equipment in three months, The Mercury News reported. The rapid use of such space and equipment puts the system at risk of a severe shortage which could further jeopardize the safety of health care workers.

“We’re talking in the magnitude of hundreds of millions,” Newsom said about the number of supplies required, according to The Mercury News. “That was not a made-up number,” he added. “That was not a typo.”

The state is already working to open 3,000 beds in Seton Medical Centre in San Mateo County and two more facilities in southern California, according to the report.

California received aid from the federal government with 1,000 beds soon to be opened on the USNS Mercy, a hospital ship on the way to Los Angeles, and 2,000 more beds will open at eight federal medical shelter sites around the state, according to The Mercury News. These locations will be used for patients with less serious conditions in order to spare space at local hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

California is also searching high and low to acquire medical equipment, whether it be from distributors in the state or in China. California received help from six companies despite President Trump declining to enlist private sector manufacturers to help with the shortages, according to Thee Mercury News report. California has secured help producing gowns from private companies and received aid from Elon Musk, who provided 1,000 ventilators to help hospitals treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Read the full report over at The Mercury News.

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