Community Hospital Long Beach is ready to accept patients but is awaiting a license from the state, according to operator Molina, Wu, Network, LLC.
“We started this endeavor two weeks ago at the state’s request,” the operator said in a statement today. “Governor Newsom has been clear on the urgent need to increase hospital capacity in response to the challenges caused by COVID-19. Community Hospital Long Beach is now ready to answer that call.”
The 94-year-old hospital closed in 2018 due to seismic compliance issues. However, under special orders from the governor’s office, it was announced March 19 that the facility would reopen ahead of schedule to alleviate the anticipated burden on surrounding hospitals due to the coronavirus health crisis.
When it reopens, Community Hospital will be able to accept up to 158 patients who are not suffering from COVID-19.
However, on March 21 the hospital said the reopening was delayed to secure necessary equipment and make repairs to ensure patient safety.
Now, the operator says it is fully staffed—with the city’s help, it has hired 100 employees to maintain 24/7 coverage of the ICU unit—and is stocked with more than $2 million in medical supplies and services.
Officials said they have “accommodated all of the state’s requests,” but that the state has yet to issue a license for patient care.
The California Department of Public Health, which would issue such a license, said in an email they are looking into the matter.
Once open, the East Long Beach hospital will not be accepting emergency room or walk-in patients.
Mayor Robert Garcia, during his Friday afternoon press briefing, also touted the reopening of Community to bolster the city’s bed capacity in coming weeks, when officials are preparing for a “worst case scenario” in COVID-19 cases.