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LA's Convention Center Is Now A Field Hospital

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The convention center in downtown Los Angeles is now being converted into a field hospital, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced tonight. The move is being made to to prepare the city for an expected surge in demand for hospital beds as the number of new coronavirus cases swells.

The hospital will be run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Garcetti said during his nightly briefing on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic. About 30 National Guard members helped unpack equipment this weekend.

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The federal medical station will provide medical supplies and cots to take some of the pressure off of nearby hospitals, Garcetti said.

The USS Mercy, which arrived in L.A. on Friday for the same purpose, has already taken in its first three patients, Garcetti said. The floating naval hospital is providing an additional 1,000 hospital beds to help non-coronavirus patients.

Garcetti also announced he is appointing Port of Los Angeles executive director Eugene Seroka to act as the city's chief logistics officer.

One of the biggest concerns among officials responding to the pandemic is the supply of medical equipment. Patients need ventilators. Health care workers need masks and other personal protective equipment.

Seroka's job will be to use the city's purchasing power and connections to secure these critical materials, Garcetti said.

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"He's going to help us manage the process of getting the 1 million masks currently in storage out to our first responders, along with a second supply chain to help our hospitals get everything they need in bulk."

SHELTERS AND BEDS

Together, the state, city, and county have secured more than 900 motel and hotel rooms that homeless Angelenos can use for isolation and quarantine, but more will be needed, Garcetti said.

The mayor called on hotel and motel owners to step forward and offer more rooms to fill the need, directing them to a website where they can register their rooms.

HOW ARE ANGELENOS FARING?

It will be a surprise to no one, but a lot of Angelenos have taken a financial hit because of the strict social distancing guidelines issued at all levels of government, including the mayor's "Safer at Home" order.

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But now we're starting to get some numbers. Garcetti said a new study from Loyola Marymount University's Center for the Study of Los Angeles, in partnership with the city, checks in on how residents are faring, and what they're thinking, in the midst of this pandemic. He shared some of the findings:

  • 60% say their income stream has been significantly or somewhat reduced
  • 95% in L.A. city and county "know what we are collectively doing is the right thing," Garcetti said
  • A third of households in the Southland say they have someone with serious or underlying medical conditions
  • A third also say they have someone 65 or older
  • 80% of Angelenos are worried they or a family member will get sick, but only 40% think they themselves will get sick
  • Close to 60% say it's the right strategy to isolate when sick
  • Nearly 40% think you should go to a doctor when sick
On that last point, Garcetti wanted to set the record straight:
"Let me dissuade you of that [last point]: you should talk to a doctor, get on the phone with the doctor, and unless you have serious symptoms, make sure that you are isolating. Because if we have people rushing the medical facilities that we have, especially as this pace picks up, especially those who are not exhibiting serious symptoms and are healthy, we will be overwhelmed at our hospitals."

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