In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Hospital Long Beach (CHLB) was set to partially open on Saturday morning to accept critical care transfer patients from area hospitals, but that effort has been postponed.
“Right now, we are working around the clock to finalize the arrival of patients from local hospitals and to ensure that we have the necessary staffing, equipment and medical supplies to guarantee their safety and care,” Brandon Dowling, spokesperson for CHLB/Molina, Wu, Network, LLC., said.
According to Dowling, the hospital expects to start accepting transfer patients in the coming days.
The reopening is in partnership with the California Governor’s office and local and state officials, in response to the need for medical staff and resources at a time where the number of confirmed coronavirus cases surge daily.
As of publication time, there are 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Long Beach per the city’s website and 1,733 in California. The County of Los Angeles Public Health confirmed 536 cases in the county including 7 deaths as of March 23.
Officials are anticipating the number of coronavirus cases to increase as the virus spreads and testing expands.
The opening of CHLB would provide an additional 158 hospital beds to the region, 10 of those being intensive care, and 10 ventilators.
The hospital will not be operating its emergency room or taking walk-in patients during the first opening phase.
CHLB, which closed in summer 2018 due to its inability to meet the state’s seismic compliance requirements, was on track to reopen later this year as it progressed toward state licensure. In late February, the California Department of Public Health licensed CHLB’s clinical laboratory after undergoing an on-site inspection. This is 1 of two individual, specialized licenses that the hospital has to obtain before a final site survey to operate and direct medical services. The application for the other specialized license needed to run its pharmacy is in process.
Additionally, following the state’s approval for a seismic compliance extension, seismic retrofit plans are currently under development. The deadline for construction completion has been established as Jan.1, 2025.
Just last week, John Molina, a partner at Molina, Wu, Network, LLC., the hospital’s current operator, stated in a press release the importance of having “every resource available to ensure that the community has access to critical and life-saving services during this public health crisis.”
State Senator Lena Gonzalez also thanked local, state, and federal leaders and the Governor’s office for propelling the California Department of Public Health to expedite the licensure and reopening of CHLB during the public health emergency.
“In addition, I want to urge Governor Newsom to support this effort with much-needed emergency funds to operate the hospital during this critical time in our state,” Gonzalez said.
Last week, the Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation put out an urgent request for support to provide medical supplies and equipment for patient care and protection for its front line medical staff.
“Any support that you can provide at this time will help us serve the community, treat local residents infected with COVID-19 and stem the spread of this virus in the interest of public health and safety,” the press release said.
The sample list of items that the donation would fund include:
– IV pumps
– Non-latex gloves
– N-95 masks
– Cardiac monitor
– Toilet paper
– Wash Cloths & Towels
Further updates will come from the hospital in the coming days and weeks.