Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center Pacific at 2333 Buchanan St. could be reopened to help treat patients with coronavirus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Newsom to re-open shuttered SF hospital to prepare for surge in coronavirus patients

Governor wants 157 beds at CPMC’s closed Pacific Campus at 2333 Buchanan St.

A recently closed hospital in San Francisco may reopen as Gov. Gavin Newsom looks to increase patient beds by 50,000 across California to prepare for a possible surge of coronavirus patients.

Newsom said this week that he was in conversations with California Pacific Medical Center, which is part of the Sutter Health network, to reopen one of its recently closed hospitals to create 157 beds. He said there was a term sheet.

“It just shut down. We are trying to reopen it,” Newsom said during a Monday evening press conference. “We are going to try and get that back.”

A spokesperson for Sutter Health confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner Tuesday that the site Newsom was referring to is the 2333 Buchanan St. CPMC Pacific Campus, but declined to provide additional details.

The hospital closed last year and all inpatient services, including the Emergency Department, were moved to CPMC’s Van Ness Campus, according to The City’s Health Care Services Master Plan.

“As officials have indicated, they are working to identify and activate locations for additional hospital beds throughout the state — one of those is a California Pacific Medical Center campus that is currently inactive,” a Sutter Health spokesperson said in a statement to the Examiner. “In addition to supporting efforts like these, we are leveraging the strength of our integrated network — from hospital care to drive-up clinics to non-hospital-based strategies like video visits — to support patients across the care continuum.”

Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose district includes the site, said “I applaud Sutter and CPMC for enabling the state to expand their capacity while continually meeting the challenges of COVID-19 our city faces every day.”

“Our health care system is under tremendous pressure, and it’s on all of us to do everything we can,” Stefani said. “As The City speeds up the hiring of nurses and frontline professionals, this is another critical step in confronting this pandemic.”

The San Francisco Examiner reported Friday that Department of Public Health officials were also working with local hospital CEOs to increase bed capacity and planning to open 48 new beds at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

San Francisco has about 4,700 licensed hospital beds, according to The City’s 2019 health services master plan. That includes about 3,100 acute beds and 1,300 skilled nursing beds.

The City’s health officials have said they are doing their own modeling using infectious disease experts at UCSF to determine the need for additional beds.

At Monday’s press conference, Newsom said the latest estimate showed there was a need for 50,000 additional hospital beds across California to handle the expected surge of coronavirus patients. That’s a significant increase from the estimate of 20,000 more beds he gave last week.

He said that across the state’s 416 hospitals there were “just shy of 75,000 licensed beds” and officials there plan to increase bed capacity by 30,000 by means such as adding beds within facilities or erecting tents. Meanwhile, Newsom said he would look to secure 20,000 additional beds.

Toward this effort, Newsom announced Saturday that $30 million in emergency funding will secure leases of beds at Seton Medical Center in Daly City and St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles on a three-month basis.

California reported Tuesday 2,102 confirmed cases of COVID-19, respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, which includes the 152 cases in San Francisco. About 27,650 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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