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San Diego hospitals prepare for coronavirus patients

The county says there are 4,200 hospital beds in our area. They are working with hospitals to prioritize the sickest and most in need.

SAN DIEGO — With more coronavirus/COVID-19 cases in San Diego, our local hospitals are continuing to prepare. But some unions representing hospital workers in California are concerned about training and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.  

“We fully expect and know we will get more cases and, yes, we will have deaths,” County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said Wednesday. 

Local health officials say the coronavirus outbreak will get worse in San Diego before it gets better. The county says there are 4,200 hospital beds in our area. They are working with hospitals to prioritize the sickest and most in need.

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 “We are planning for surging up if the current capacity increases and we anticipate that it will increase,” said Wooten. 

Unions representing some hospital staff are raising concerns about the level of preparedness. 

National Nurses United wrote Congress to say, "CDC guidance on COVID-19 are irresponsible and put nurses, health care workers and patients at risk.”   

This follows the mandatory quarantine of 50 employees at Scripps Green Hospital after they came in contact with one of San Diego County's first coronavirus patients. 

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Local public health leaders stressed hospitals are ready. 

“Part of what we're doing today is for the health and well-being of the community and it is for stewardship and protection and capacity of the regional health care system,” said Dr. Nick Yphantides. 

The county is expected to announce new measures in the next few days to help triage those who need care again helping to relieve the pressure at hospitals. That includes the possibility of drive-through testing facilities to identify those who have the virus. 

“We are looking at the potential of some innovative destination sites and we are in some exploration with other national entities about the potential of even doing home testing,” said Dr. Yphantides.

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