Contra Costa County experienced 23 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, and it is now making room for the hospital beds public health officials think they will need at a local high school.
Beds and other supplies are set to arrive soon at Alhambra High School in Martinez, where health officials plan to treat people who are not in critical condition. The idea is to have somewhere to treat patients who need medical help once the nearby hospitals are inundated with coronavirus patients.
Representatives with the Martinez Unified School District said that Alhambra High’s gymnasium and adjoining kitchen common areas were identified by federal, state and local agencies as a needed location for a makeshift treatment facility during the coronavirus crisis.
“It provides sick people a safe place to get care if there isn’t room for them in one of the brick-and-mortar hospitals,” said John Gioia, Contra Costa County supervisor.
Gioia told NBC Bay Area that this site and others across the county are needed quickly as more people become sick from the coronavirus.
“[We need to] basically increase bed capacity by 100%, and some of that capacity is for less critical care,” said Gioia.
Daniel Kelly, an Alhambra High neighbor, said he welcomes the patients and this move by health officials.
“I think it’s a great idea to keep all of the infected patients in one place,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who said he’s waiting for a heart transplant and has medical issues himself, maintains his heart health with constant blood work and hopes he won’t need treatment before the pandemic threat ends. But in case he does, he’s glad the county and the school district are working together to find solutions.
“I think they’re doing an awesome job trying to get a handle on everything,” Kelly said. “Because it’s happening so fast and we’re getting hit so hard with who has it and who doesn’t have it.”