Overwhelmed hospitals in Riverside County receive aid from federal military medical team

To support the region’s hospitals dealing with record numbers of patients hospitalized and requiring intensive care treatment, a team of approximately 20 federal military medical personnel arrived Thursday at the Riverside University Health System – Medical Center (RUHS Medical Center), according to a county news release.

The Department of Defense team consists of physician assistants, nurses, and respiratory care practitioners from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. The federal military medical team is part of a State of California request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for federal support to medical facilities throughout California. The team is made up of active-duty military medical personnel.

RUHS Medical Center is also seeking out other ways to support staffing needs. The state, for example, is sending additional traveler nurses to the RUHS Medical Center to treat the influx of patients in surge spaces. Traveler nurses contract with different states and jurisdictions for six to 12 months at a time.

Additionally, the State of California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) set up an oxygen depot in Riverside County to help meet the needs of hospitals within the region.

The oxygen depot is comprised of two large oxygen generators that will fill the large tanks used by hospitals and will augment the local oxygen supply, according to the county.

“Oxygen suppliers are having a difficult time meeting the high demand of area hospitals due to the COVID19 pandemic,” Bruce Barton, director of the Riverside County Emergency Management District, said in a statement. “This isn’t limited to just one hospital. COVID patients need lots of oxygen and that’s taxing the entire healthcare system.”

Supported by Riverside County Facilities Management, EMSA staffing will be available 24 hours a day to fill oxygen tanks. The oxygen generator is expected to remain until suppliers are able to keep up with demands.


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