MADERA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Madera Community Hospital, Madera’s only hospital, is closing its doors earlier than previously announced on Friday at 12 midnight.

The move prompted a local state of emergency to be declared by the Madera County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday evening. Officials say it is a formal request for help from state and federal officials.

Earlier in the day, the Madera County Board of Supervisors sounded the alarm themselves at their meeting.

“It’s very damaging to health care equity in the area where the patients are going to be most affected are those who have the least ability and the fewest resources to adapt to the change in our health care delivery system,” said Madera County Health Officer Simon Paul.

Patients will now have to travel distances to receive help in a medical emergency. Many of those nearby hospitals are already near capacity.

“This is at a time when all the hospitals in the San Joaquin Valley are at 100%, its extremely difficult to find a bed for one patient, let alone many,” Paul continued. 

“This closure is not just you lose a hospital,” said David Bacci, the Regional Vice President of Hospital Council. “This closure: you lose your primary care if you live in Mendota, if you live in Chowchilla.”

The hundreds of employees working at Madera Community Hospital are preparing to be out of work in the coming days. Among them, Crystalina Amato, who says she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

“We are considering selling our house, you know, the bills don’t stop.”