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Pasadena Convention Center Could Be Converted into Care Facility for Coronavirus Patients

City Council to vote Monday on contract

Published on Monday, April 6, 2020 | 4:00 am
Image Courtesy Visit Pasadena Website

The City Council will vote Monday on a contract to convert the Pasadena Convention Center to an alternate care facility to treat patients impacted by the Coronavirus.

The contract would not exceed $700,000.

According to a staff report, a team consisting of city and hospital staff collectively has been exploring the possibility of establishing a temporary medical facility due to projections provided by Huntington Memorial Hospital.

Those projections show that at the peak of the outbreak, currently estimated for mid-May, there could be as many as 1,300 persons requiring hospitalization at the hospital for treatment of the virus,

“While the Hospital has been working to increase patient capacity within its facility, such a peak would exceed that capacity by approximately 400 beds.”

The team visited several potential sites, including PUSD facilities and shuttered St. Luke’s Hospital and PUSD school sites. Pasadena Now reported earlier this month that the former hospital can’t be used because it lacks the plumbing.

According to the report, the center has 97,000 square feet of flexible space that can be configured as needed, a subterranean loading dock, full food service and is approximately one mile from the hospital.

The Convention Center is not the only local facility that may be used to stop the spread of the outbreak. Last week a city officials told Pasadena Now that the Rose Bowl could be used as a testing center.

The initial cost of establishing the temporary medical facility is would be about $250,000 for the first month and $180,000 for each month thereafter. Based on current projections it is anticipated that the facility may be needed for 60-90 days, which means it could cost the city anywhere between $430,000 and $610,000. Staff is requesting authority to enter into an agreement not to exceed $700,000 to allow for up to 90 days of operation and/or any adjustment to service levels such as an increase in beds. Funds for the proposed contract would be drawn from the city’s existing 5 percent General Fund reserve and staff would seek reimbursement from FEMA.

“Typically, FEMA reimburses 75 percent of costs and it is currently unknown at this time if additional reimbursements will be provided for COVID-19 response.”

Councilmember Andy Wilson said Sunday he is glad the City is investing in these types of preparations.

“My best wish is that they end up being unnecessary expenditures, but so much better to prepare before the storm,” Wilson said.

The city’s staff report tallied the outbreak’s toll.

“In a period of just a few months, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has spread across the globe infecting over one million people,” according to a city staff report. “In the United States, as of April 4th there were over 300,000 cases, with over 8,100 deaths. In California, as of that same date there were 12,838 cases reported with 285 confirmed deaths.”

On Sunday afternoon there were 321,865 reported cases of infection in the United States and 9,132 deaths.

As of Friday there were 58 confirmed cases in Pasadena. Two local residents infected with the virus have died, according to local health officials.

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