Hundreds of beds fill the Fresno Convention Center to prepare for potential surge in cases

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Hundreds of beds are now set up inside the Fresno Convention Center for its alternate care site to prepare for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases locally.

What was once an exhibit hall for local valley events now houses rows of empty hospital beds, each about 5 ft. apart and meant to treat non-COVID-19 patients.

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“This is a work in progress, what you see behind me is really what I consider the bare bones of an alternative care site,” said Dr, Rais Vohra, the interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

The National Guard set up the site within hours on Wednesday.

“There were boxes full of all this stuff, and they were told ‘here’s what we want and here’s how we want it to look like,'” said Dave Johnston, the mission support commander of the 144th fighter wing.

As far as equipment, there aren’t any medications, ventilators or protective gear other than surgical masks. Each bed has toiletries, such as tissues, toilet paper and towels.

“We are requesting with our state and federal authorities to be able to get more medications, more things that could make us more fully functional,” Vohra said.

The purpose of the facility is to relieve emergency rooms if there were to be a surge in cases, but Vohra said they have to recognize how easily the virus can spread and that they have to prepare for the worst case scenario, in which they would need significantly more equipment than what’s already laid out.

“If the hospitals that we’re working with asks us to take on the care of stable COVID patients, then certainly we’ll be ready with protocols to be able to do that as well,” Vohra said.

As to who could work in this facility, Vohra recognized the lack of medical professionals in the region and asked the community with medical experience to call the Department of Public Health as they seek volunteers.

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