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Adventist Health prepares for COVID-19 surge

As part of its global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, International Medical Corps is deploying emergency medical field units, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to support two hospitals in the south Central Valley: Adventist Health Bakersfield and Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley.

The International Medical Corps field units enable hospitals to expand triage and treatment space at existing facilities, improve patient flow and keep COVID-19 patients separated from other patients. Depending on the configuration chosen, hospitals can potentially treat hundreds of extra patients per day with the field units, which can include patient beds, medical examination supplies, portable sinks, power, lighting and HVAC units.

The field units can be constructed in approximately six to 12 hours, be operational within 24 hours and withstand sustained winds of up to 80 mph. Each hospital determines specifically how it intends to use the additional space and resources.

The hospitals will use their emergency medical field units to conduct necessary screening, testing and treatment protocols during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Bakersfield unit will be incorporated as part of the hospital's triage process just outside the Emergency Department, separating patients who are symptomatic from those who are not (essentially, the unit will become the front door for the Emergency Department). At Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley, the field unit will provide overflow space for non-COVID patients.

The deployment of equipment and supplies is part of International Medical Corps' work to increase capacity at overburdened hospitals and long-term care facilities throughout the US. The humanitarian aid organization has now deployed emergency medical field units in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Puerto Rico, with its longtime collaborator FedEx providing related logistical and shipping support to the nationwide effort. In addition, it has provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies and equipment to facilities and municipalities across the country.

Where requested, International Medical Corps also has activated its volunteer roster of nearly 300 medical professionals to provide medical surge capacity to partner hospitals, helping to fill critical gaps in patient care, nursing, and infection prevention and control. In addition, it is training hospital and long-term care staff on preparedness, response and mental health needs. It is providing online training through its COVID-19 Learning Series http://www.internationalmedicalcorps.org/emergency-response/covid-19/coronavirus-learning-series/, conducting training-of-trainer sessions for care-facility staff in the Los Angeles area, and partnering with Texas A&M University to provide training to healthcare staff in that hard-hit state.

International Medical Corps emergency team members set up the field units outside Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley on Tuesday, July 28, and at Adventist Health Bakersfield on Wednesday, July 29.

About this response

FedEx, as part of its long-time collaboration with International Medical Corps, is providing extensive logistical support, delivering the shelters and supplies as part of its FedEx Cares "Delivering for Good" initiative. The company uses its global network and logistics expertise to help organizations with mission-critical needs in times of disaster and for special shipments.

International Medical Corps is working globally with international health bodies, local and national governments, ministries of health, local health facilities and community-based organizations to provide expertise, equipment, training, and triage and treatment services in response to the pandemic. Its response prioritizes areas where the disease has already spread or where healthcare systems-and, thus, populations-are particularly vulnerable.

Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides care in hospitals, clinics, home care agencies, hospice agencies and joint-venture retirement centers in both rural and urban communities.