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Riverside County Is Calling In Federal Support To Treat COVID-19 Patients

Newly reported cases in Riverside County as of July 14.
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Several hospitals in Riverside County are looking to the federal government for backup staff to treat a surge in COVID-19 patients. One hospital in Rancho Mirage, Eisenhower Health, is scheduled to receive around 20 current military personnel, including doctors, nurses and respiratory technicians tomorrow.

According to Dr. Alan Williamson, chief medical officer of Eisenhower Health, much of the regular hospital staff is seasonal — doubling in size during the winter months to support “snowbirds” staying in their local second homes.

He explained:

“Typically this time of year things would be quite slow in the hospital, so we don’t have those staff readily available for taking care of a sudden surge of patients.”

The bottom line: While Eisenhower Health still has enough beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), the hospital has essentially no staff to treat new patients.
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Bruce Barton, director of Riverside County's Emergency Management Department, said one other county hospital has been approved to receive additional staffing and four others have requested, but not yet been approved, for help.

So far, he said, the northwest region of the county, including the city of Riverside and Moreno Valley, and the desert region are suffering the most from staffing shortages.

But Barton is optimistic about the future. “It’s been long, but the morale of the team is very good. We’re dealing with what’s in front of us every single day,” he said.


Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose Riverside or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Tuesday, July 14:

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