Coronavirus California: Fight against COVID-19 will keep Seton Medical Center open, state to lease hospital beds

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Governor Gavin Newsom made several major announcements during a Thursday evening press conference.

"Today, we just secured a very large hospital in Northern California- Seton. It's not part of our portfolio and we're going to populate that hospital as an example to meet the moment," Governor Newsom said.

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Beyond ordering the entire State of California to shelter-in-place, he announced the state would be leasing hospital beds for treatment in an effort to strengthen its response to COVID-19.

One hospital secured in this action is Seton Medical Center in Daly City.
The announcement is keeping the hospital open.

According to San Mateo County leaders, 177 hospital beds will be designated to COVID-19 patients at Seton.

Supervisor David Canepa said the hospital has 364 beds in totality.
The embattled hospital recently made headlines about its imminent closure. ABC7 News was there as many shared their worries about what a closure would mean for the community and coronavirus response.

"Do I think it had something to do with it? Absolutely," Supervisor Canepa told ABC7 News. "Two weeks ago, Verity said that they were going to shut this hospital down and St. Vincent."

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Canepa said he anticipates set up will take some time.

"There's going to be certain floors- is my understanding- that are going to be designated for those patients," he said. "I think that they're going to do it prudently and judiciously, right? You can't just set these things up in 2 to 3 days, right. So, you really have to be thoughtful in how you do it."

The transformation requires real preparation to get healthcare workers properly trained, and medical equipment, supplies and resources to levels they should be.

The planned COVID-19 staging area at Seton Medical Center will come at a cost to California.

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"My understanding of the terms of the agreement- it's $5 million for the first month. Thereafter, it's operating expenses, plus $2.7-million dollars," Canepa told ABC7 news.
"We know the numbers are going to continue to grow around COVID-19," he added. "We know that it affects our seniors. They're going to need a place where they're going to be taken care of, and Seton provides that space."

Assemblyman Phil Ting applauded the Governor's plan to use emergency COVID-19 State funds to secure Seton Medical Center.

"I'm grateful the Governor saw the urgent need to keep Seton Medical Center open during this pandemic," said Ting, whose district includes Daly City. "But even after our current public health crisis passes, it would have been imperative for this facility remain open because 27,000 patients, mostly elderly and low-income, are served there. Seton's closure would have created a health care desert. I'm proud to have worked with community leaders over the past year to help save it."

Governor Newsom said he plans to announce a Southern California hospital on Friday.

In the end, he said the state will bring online 750 hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.

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