San Mateo County has partnered with Dignity Health and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to increase local intensive care unit (ICU) capacity by up to 10 beds amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The agreement, made possible thanks to a $4.5 million investment by the County, provides AMI licensed medical professionals to staff the additional ICU beds in Dignity Health’s Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City for at least 30 days.
“The increased surge capacity will serve not only San Mateo County but the Bay Area region as a whole,” the County said, adding the arrangement “is aimed at preventing those needing ICU-level care from not being able to get it due to the staffing constraints at hospitals across the Bay Area.”
The first 5-bed unit is expected to be staffed within a week, with the second 5-bed unit available by the following week. San Mateo County’s Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator program will facilitate the placement of patients into these supplemental ICU beds, the County said.
“When ICU capacity drops below 15 percent, every staffed ICU bed counts, especially for each individual who needs care,” said Travis Kusman, Emergency Medical Services director for San Mateo County, who also serves as the Regional Disaster Medical Health Coordinator.
Since the start of the pandemic, local healthcare providers like Sequoia Hospital have been collaborating with one another and with public health agencies to determine how best to respond to the crisis. That collaboration is needed now more than ever, with COVID-19 cases surging and with the Bay Area’s collective ICU capacity falling to 13.7 percent, per state data.
“We’re fortunate to be able to connect resources to key partners to support our local community and our neighbors during this crisis,” said County Manager Mike Callagy.