Newsom Asks For Federal Help As Pandemic Strains Hospital System

Gavin Newsom
Photo credit Getty Images
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

Early on in the pandemic, UC San Francisco and other California institutions sent medical workers to New York City to help address the city’s surge in cases. Now, help is on the way to California as the state experiences its own surge. 

Hospitalizations are up about 50% over the past two weeks and the system is becoming overwhelmed. Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that Yolo County has run out of ICU beds.

“I had a conversation with the Vice President just a few days ago to be able to draw down even more support than we had in the past for these field medical teams,” Newsom said. “We’re going to get 190 individuals that are coming from HHS, from our federal partners to come in and to help relieve some of the stress for some of our caregivers…. not just the nurses but also our doctors.”

The state’s 416 hospitals are also making preparations for “any kind of emergency” said Carmela Coyle, who heads the California Hospital Association. 

“Looking at every nook and cranny within California’s hospitals to see if there is any more space we can dedicate to caring for COVID-positive individuals.”

Officials continue to plead the public to continue wearing face coverings, practice good hygiene and step up physical distancing. 

“Every time you do that in your home, in your neighborhood, and in your community, you are helping a nurse, you’re helping a doctor, you’re helping a hospital,“ said Coyle.

The California Health Corps, which Newsom created earlier in the year in response to the pandemic and is made up of mostly retired healthcare workers and students, is also preparing to dispatch more than 700 medical professionals out to nursing homes and correctional facilities.