Community hospital postpones accepting transfer patients, plans to reopen soon

Community Hospital postponed its planned reopening on Saturday as operators were still working out plans for accepting transfer patients from nearby hospital to help with the anticipated rise in coronavirus patients.

Brandon Dowling, a spokesman for hospital operator Molina, Wu, Network, said the hospital expects to reopen soon.

“We are working around the clock to finalize the arrival of patients from local hospitals and to ensure that we have the necessary staffing, equipment and medical supplies to guarantee their safety and care,” Dowling said in a statement. “We will not be accepting patients today, however we expect to start accepting transfer patients in the coming days.”

The 94-year-old East Long Beach has been closed since 2018 due to seismic compliance issues, shuttering the area’s only emergency room. Operators were planning to reopen later this year, but the facility was given the green light to open early under special order from the governor’s office.

The hospital is planning to accept transfers from other hospitals. It will not be accepting emergency room patients or walk-in patients. The opening will bring an additional 158 hospital beds to the region, including 10 intensive care beds and 10 ventilators.

Community Hospital has passed several milestones in its effort to reopen. In February, the California Department of Public Health licensed the hospital’s clinical laboratory, marking one of two specialized licenses needed for a final site survey and to operate and direct medical services.

The application for the second license to operate the pharmacy is in progress.

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].