Kaweah Delta braces for influx of COVID-19 patients

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the state, medical professionals in the South Valley are bracing for a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Officials are reminding residents to practice social distancing while Kaweah Delta is preparing for an influx of cases by the end of the month.

Officials believe more densely-populated areas such as the Bay Area and Los Angeles will feel the brunt of the outbreak by mid-April, with the Central Valley following a week or two later.

"We are taking a lot of steps to prepare for that," said Gary Herbst, CEO of Kaweah Delta.

The hospital recently added a drive-thru mobile testing center to help streamline the process while expanding the medical center's coverage to an entire city block around the hospital.

"Cars come in driving south on Floral and Park, and we go right out to their cars and swab them right there, they don't have to get out of their cars. We collect the specimen and sent it off for testing," Herbst said.

Officials believe the hospital is well-prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients after most elective surgeries and screenings have been postponed.

Kaweah Delta is licensed for 403 medical beds with the ability to add additional beds in the coming days. They're also working to acquire more ventilators.

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