A 90,000-square-foot building that once housed the Sears Department Store, on Arlington Avenue, will be used for a 125-bed hospital and be supplied with materials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The California National Guard is also working this week at the Magnolia Avenue site of the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center near Adams Street setting up a portion of the FMS. According to county officials, the Guards working there will not perform any law enforcement activities.
This site will provide additional hospital bed capacity to the county’s overall hospital system and will help ease the burden from an expected surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Moving out the medically fragile folks from Magnolia Rehab was just the beginning,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “There will be many folks who’ll need care when our hospitals start taking hits, and this second station means we’ll have the same added capacity in our western county as we do in the east.”
FMS facilities include all the equipment to run a basic hospital including beds, bed sheets, portable sinks, medication and complete units of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns and face shields. These materials will be set up on the second floor of the former department store to create two stations that will care for less acute patients.
“This facility will ease the burden on our local hospitals during the pandemic, which will allow them to perform more effectively for everyone,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “On behalf of our local medical community, I appreciate the county’s efforts to increase capacity in our area.”
Riverside County hospitals will be expected to move stable, less severe patients to this location, as well as an identical federal medical station already in operation at the fairgrounds in Indio. This will allow greater capacity in the county’s existing hospitals to respond to the needs of more critical patients.
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair and Second District Supervisor Karen Spiegel commented, “We will very soon need every single hospital bed in Riverside County. This medical station will give us sorely needed bed space, so that medical teams can continue their heroic efforts to treat more patients in need.”