Federal medical personnel have been dispatched to the Coachella Valley to assist Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, which is experiencing staffing woes due to an influx of COVID-19 patients, it was announced Tuesday.
The roughly 20-person team, set to include doctors, physician assistants, critical care nurses and respiratory technicians — who are all active military members — will begin arriving at the hospital on Wednesday, according to Dr. Alan Williamson, its chief medical officer.
“Right now, we have a physical capacity to care for more patients but it’s very difficult for us to find the staff,” Williamson told City News Service.
Eisenhower Health is one of three hospitals in the Coachella Valley. It is approaching its roughly 400-bed capacity, which was about 80% full as of Tuesday afternoon, Williamson said.
If additional beds are needed the hospital’s surge plan can accommodate them, according to Williamson.
However, the hospital is almost out of available staff members to tend to the remaining beds yet alone the beds that could be created with equipment on-site if needed, Williamson said.
“There’s really not a lot of resources out there for anyone,” Williamson said. “We’ve tapped into all the nurses that we can find.”
This shortage spurred the hospital to reach to Riverside County for extra staff, which in turn alerted the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which sent the team.
The hospital’s intensive care unit only has enough people to staff three more beds, Williamson said.
The federal personnel are scheduled to be on site for approximately 30 days, Williamson said.
The announcement comes as 536 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 countywide, 25 more than Monday. This includes 136 patients in intensive care units.