A 250-bed federal field hospital will be installed on the 10th and 11th floors of the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. The fully functioning “hospital within a hospital” will add to the capacity of beds needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of the County of San Diego.

Palomar Medical Center in Escondido will host a 250-bed federal medical station in preparation for a rapid increase in COVID-19 patients, hospital and county officials announced Sunday.

The “hospital within a hospital” will be installed on the 10th and 11th floors of the facility and will add to the capacity of beds needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The facility will be used for those in our community who need it the most,” Dr. Nick Yphantides, San Diego County’s chief medical officer, said during the announcement outside Palomar Medical Center. “It will be a community-wide resource.”

Hospital capacity in the region will need to grow in the coming weeks, Yphantides said, ‘”as a storm begins to reach our region.”

The decision about whether the new beds will be used by COVID-19 patients or other kinds of patients will be made at a later time, depending on “which patients will need it the most,” he said.

Doctors and nurses at Palomar Medical Center will staff the new medical station.

“This station will help assist with COVID-19 response efforts by increasing care capacity. We are honored to support the community,” said Palomar Health in a statement.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher called the added bed capacity “a positive step forward for our region.”

San Diego County is also expected to get a 250-bed mobile field hospital from the military amid the pandemic.

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