Coronavirus: CA National Guard helps set up temporary hospital in Indio

INDIO, Calif. (KABC) -- A temporary hospital with 125 beds was set up in Indio to help ease the burden on local hospitals expecting a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The California National Guard on Wednesday erected the medical station at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, according to the county's public health department, which added that they "will not perform any law enforcement activities."

The facility will include all the equipment necessary to run a basic hospital, such as personal protective equipment for staff and more.

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As part of an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Riverside County health officials are set to conduct drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Lake Elsinore.

"This medical station will relieve stress from our hospitals, allowing them to better provide higher levels of care for our sickest individuals, and get more people on the way to recovery faster," said county health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser in a press release.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Riverside County has confirmed 70 positive cases and seven related deaths.

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As the coronavirus death toll rose in Riverside County, an area doctor predicted a drastic jump in deaths in the area, which is home to a substantial senior population.

Meanwhile, in San Bernardino County, people who are arrested are being screened for coronavirus before they're brought inside jails, but since the crisis started, the number of people locked up in the county has dropped by nearly 20%.

"Folks are staying home and not getting involved in criminal activity as much as before, it could be that officers in the field are busy doing other things, but it could also be because folks are being involved in misdemeanor cases, that they are being cited in the field," said Sheriff John McMahon.

During a news conference in San Bernardino County, a update was given on the situation in local hospitals, like in Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where they're gearing up to increase the number of beds by between 30 and 50%.
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