California National Guard assists Riverside hospital amid COVID-19 surge

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- The California National Guard deployed nine medical corps members to assist a Riverside hospital amid an alarming surge of coronavirus cases.

Short on staff, Riverside Community Hospital was helped on Tuesday by the National Guard, which sent reinforcements to help in the emergency department.

The team came in to offer support last week and will leave Wednesday.

The hospital's cafeteria has been repurposed to handle emergency department patients who must wait for hospital beds to open up.

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Los Angeles County officials say hospitals are reaching the point where there may not be available room or staffing for those diverted ambulances to go.

On Tuesday, Riverside County reported 73 new deaths, the most people to die from the virus in a single day.

The scene at the Riverside hospital mirrors the dire circumstances hospitals across the Southland are facing. The crush of coronavirus patients are pushing hospitals and ICUs to the limit. The state extended Southern California's regional stay-at-home order Tuesday as ICU capacity remains at 0%.

In Los Angeles, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital has tents set up outside the emergency department for triage and patient care.

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Dr. Elaine Batchlor, the CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, says more than 1,000 of their health care workers have already been vaccinated.

Until ICU bed capacity for the region gets back to at least 15%, the state says the regional stay-at-home order must be in place.

The order means a continued ban on gatherings with people outside the home and many businesses must still operate under limited capacity.
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