Shuttered Westlake district hospital to reopen on April 13 as state prepares for surge of COVID-19 cases

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A recently closed hospital in the Westlake district of Los Angeles will reopen on April 13 as part of the state’s effort to secure additional beds ahead of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases, authorities said Monday.

The seven-story temporary facility, to be called the Los Angeles Surge Hospital, has a maximum capacity of 266 beds.

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced millions of dollars in emergency funding were being directed to lease the St. Vincent Medical Center, which shut down in January after the company that owned it declared bankruptcy.

Now, the facility will treat patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. It will only be accessible through patient transfers and will not have an emergency room that can take walk-in patients, Ghaly stressed.

Two of California’s largest health care providers — Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente — will operate the facility in partnership with state and county officials, county Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.

The hospital will open in phases as doctors and staff are hired and as the state secures supplies and other gear, including ventilators and personal protective equipment, the county said in a statement.

The facility is at 2131 W. Third St. at Alvardo Street, a little over a mile northwest of downtown L.A.

L.A. County hospitals currently have 1,616 opens beds, including 318 in intensive care units. Those are in addition to the 473 beds, 58 of them in ICUs, at four facilities run by the Department of Health Services.

Fewer patients at emergency departments across the county “is one of the major factors that has led to the increased capacity, helping us be able to have the available beds for a surge,” Ghaly said.

She also cited the cancelation of elective procedures.

As of Monday, the county has reported more than 6,300 coronavirus cases and 147 deaths in the outbreak. Across California, 14,336 cases and 343 deaths have been confirmed.

In addition to the Westlake hospital, Newsom on Monday announced the state’s lease of the recently shuttered Seton Medical Center in Daly City so it can serve as a surge facility in Northern California.

Officials are also working on setting up federal medical stations at eight sites across the state to accommodate more patients. Recently, the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy docked at Port of L.A. to help relieve the state’s hospital system.

“The state has aggressively planned for a surge in hospitalizations in the coming weeks and aims to add 50,000 beds to our existing hospital capacity of nearly 75,000 beds,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The thousands of people who have applied to join the new California Health Corps will staff the centers as needed, according to Newsom.

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