Fresno County hospitals to receive funding as fight against COVID continues

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hospitals within Fresno County are strained due to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

That's why the Fresno County Board of Supervisors recently announced the approval of up to $6 million in ARPA, or American Rescue Plan Act, funding to help local hospitals.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the county supervisors say their priority is funding infrastructure that will have a significant impact over many years.

Supervisor Nathan Magsig says he wants to ensure the county stays ahead of the virus.

"One of the reasons that we did the $6 million immediately is because this current surge that we have is impacting hospitals so negatively and we're seeing a lot of health care providers becoming sick, and there's just added cost," he said.

In total, Fresno County will be receiving a one-time $194 million in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds under ARPA to address public health emergencies.

According to county supervisors, more than $112 million of that funding is allocated for public health and the economic impacts of COVID19.

The $6 million will go to Community Regional Medical Center, Clovis Community Medical Center, and Saint Agnes Medical Center.

Hospital officials say they are overwhelmed and they are running out of people to fill positions.

Last week, Community Medical Centers reported over 400 staff in isolation.

"There's really no blueprint for how to respond to this pandemic and it has to be a local response based on what the local needs are," says Dr. Rais Vohra.

Back at the press conference, all of the health leaders were grateful for the much-needed funding.

Robyn Gonzales is the VP of Operations at CRMC.

She says cost for day-to-day operation has gone up, cost for supplies has gone up and cost for nursing staff has gone up.

Just two weeks ago, Community Medical Centers had to add more than 100 hospital beds in response to the Omicron surge.

"We have a huge deficit," Gonzales said. "The pandemic has cost us far beyond what we would normally spend in a year."

Outside of COVID-19, the hospitals are also seeing an increase in trauma patients.

Ivonne Torosian says the emergency rooms are also feeling the impact.

"We've also seen more patients in our emergency departments," she said.

County supervisors say they hope to receive the funding soon, which will immediately go to directly the hospitals to help with their needs.
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