How many hospital beds are there in El Dorado County?
While hospitals across the country deal with a surge in COVID-19 patients, El Dorado County is still anticipating its turn.
The county’s two hospitals — Marshall Medical Center and Barton Memorial Hospital — have a total of 29 intensive care units and 168 total hospital beds.
On the Western Slope, Placerville’s Marshall Hospital is licensed for 125 beds, including 20 ICU beds. Seven of those 20 ICU beds are in use, according to hospital spokeswoman Brittany Garcia. The hospital has 22 ventilators with two occupied as of Monday.
While South Lake Tahoe has among the most coronavirus cases than any other county region, the area’s only hospital has less total patient capacity than Marshall. In total, Barton is licensed for 63 acute hospital beds, including nine ICU beds, and 48 long-term care beds in the hospital’s skilled nursing facility, according to hospital spokeswoman Mindi Befu.
But Barton officials are expecting an influx of patients and are actively working on bringing more bed capacity to the South Lake Tahoe hospital.
“Planning is underway to more than double bed capacity in secure and safe locations throughout the hospital campus to accommodate patients who may be moderately or severely infected by the virus,” Befu said. “Additionally, we are looking at other Barton facilities to address capacity for mildly to moderately infected patients as well as working with community partners who may have facilities to serve mildly sick patients.”
County officials reported Tuesday evening three additional cases of coronavirus, bringing the county total to 28. South Lake Tahoe has 9 of those COVID-19 cases while El Dorado Hills has 10.
A patient surge in El Dorado County is “inevitable,” according to Marshall CEO Siri Nelson. The Hangtown hospital is also taking steps to increase care options.
“We’ve canceled or rescheduled elective procedures to free up bed space, are screening our limited visitors and all staff upon entry to the hospital to help stop the spread, and have set up a 20-foot-by-35-foot tent outside of our ER should the need for extra space arise,” Nelson said.
Both hospitals are taking donations of hospital supplies. So far, Marshall Hospital is holding up well but that could change going forward.
“Marshall’s PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies are sufficient for our current census, however the need for Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) hoods, face shields, goggles and hand sanitizer are of most concern today,” said Garcia. “Supply levels change on a daily basis based on incoming orders and supply use depending on our patient census.”
The county’s hospital bed capacity may sound low, but it far outpaces other nearby rural counties. Amador County has just 6 ICU beds, according to data from Kaiser Health News. A little further south, Calaveras County has none. To the north, Nevada County has 10 while Sierra County doesn’t have any.
If patient capacity is met, El Dorado County residents may have to seek out treatment in Placer or Sacramento counties, where there are 70 and 396 ICU beds respectively.
Marshall Hospital doesn’t have any coronavirus-positive patients or inpatients waiting on test results.
Barton is also seeking retired people with medical expertise or available physicians, nurses, EMTs and other medical professionals with clinical expertise to work with the hospital.
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