UCSD empty dorm could be used to ease strain on hospitals amid COVID-19

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County health officials Wednesday will continue working with UC San Diego to secure an empty dormitory for coronavirus patients too sick to go home, but not sick enough to remain in the hospital.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Tuesday that the 200 to 250 beds the dorm will provide will “raise the bar” on the number of beds available for any surge in COVID-19 cases. This “alternative care center” would open sometime in the near future, he said.

County health officials confirmed 131 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the total county cases up to 734 and nine deaths.

It is the largest jump in cases since the county confirmed its first case three weeks ago, and coincides with the highest number of overall test results since the crisis began, with 1,538 results coming in Tuesday.

The county did not provide any additional information regarding the two deaths.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said Tuesday that there was an additional death which was probably related to the illness, but it has not been confirmed and was not included in the latest numbers.

There have been 136 San Diego residents hospitalized due to the illness since the county began recording numbers, with 56 needing intensive care. The county has not provided hospital discharge numbers.

Despite the marked increase, Fletcher warned not to read too much into the numbers at this point.

“There’s not a lot you can read into day-to-day reports,” he said. “We need to look at the data week-over-week.”

A week ago, San Diego County had 232 cases.

“We believe the uptick in cases will continue and continue for the foreseeable future,” Fletcher said.

The county reported a total of 481 ventilators in 19 of the county’s 23 hospitals — with another 75 ready to deploy in an emergency — 69 being serviced, 600 requested from California and 125 ordered from elsewhere.

Fletcher said county health teams monitor their ability to respond to the crisis with three S’s — stuff, staff and structure. California responded to the lack of some of these in San Diego County by sending a 250-bed mobile field hospital and a 225-bed hospital unit, which Fletcher said comes with staff.

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Local San Diego News