Imperial County’s only 2 hospitals hit by rush of COVID-19 patients; San Diego County steps in

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Imperial County’s only two hospitals stopped taking COVID-19 patients delivered by ambulance Tuesday, citing a sudden surge of admissions linked to cross-border traffic originating in Mexicali.

The announcement, made Tuesday morning on Facebook by Dr. Adolphe Edward, chief executive officer of El Centro Regional Medical Center, came as county and state emergency services teams scrambled to help meet demand.

They immediately sent ambulance strike teams to help transfer patients — some to facilities in San Diego County — and promised that a mobile field hospital, staffed with state and federal personnel, should be in place by the end of the week.

It was clear Tuesday evening that El Centro Regional and Pioneers Health Center in Brawley, which reported having 65 and 28 COVID patients respectively as of Tuesday morning, were not yet inundated. Edward stressed that both hospitals remain open for non-COVID cases, and the ambulance diversion of COVID patients was undertaken to preserve the ability to handle emergencies not related to novel coronavirus.

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