Contra Costa County Plans To Set Up Temporary Hospital Beds For Coronavirus Patients

March 24, 2020 17:10 pm · 13 comments

Contra Costa County is working on setting up a temporary “remote hospital” location, possibly at the former Los Medanos Community Hospital building in Pittsburg, to expand the county’s medical treatment capability in expectation of a surge of new COVID-19 coronavirus cases, health officials said Tuesday.

Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer, told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that plans are in the works to set up the remote hospital.

Contra Costa County Health Services spokesman Karl Fischer built upon that, saying in a subsequent interview that current plans would see the new remote center hosting COVID-19 patients who couldn’t otherwise isolate — homeless patients, those who live in places where isolation is impractical or impossible — but who don’t require ICU-level care.

These plans, Fischer said, have not yet been finalized, and there are several potential sites other than the old Pittsburg hospital. The timing for opening that center isn’t certain.

Los Medanos Community Hospital closed in 1994, and part of the building now hosts Contra Costa County Health’s Pittsburg Health Center.

“We’re looking at every possible solution,” Farnitano told the supervisors Tuesday.

Anna Roth, the county’s health director, told the supervisors Tuesday that, as of Monday, health officials are awaiting test results for 22 people now hospitalized, she said. There are currently 86 COVID-19 cases in the county.

COVID-19 testing has increased markedly in recent days, Farnitano said. Most getting tested, he said, are suspected patients already in the hospital or otherwise sick, and first-line health care providers.

There also are plans for a drive-up testing area, accessed by appointment, at a site not yet finalized, Fischer said.

“We want to do a lot more testing than we’re doing now,” Farnitano told the supervisors Tuesday.

The county is asking state and federal officials for help in increasing the local COVID-19 response, including more test kits, masks, gloves and aprons as well as ventilators and other equipment.

All took part in the meeting via video. Having elected officials take part in this way is now possible because Gov. Gavin Newsom recently suspended certain parts of the Ralph M. Brown open-meeting act that required formal notice about any location from which any distant participant was taking part.

The technology worked well most of the time, but Supervisors Federal Glover and Karen Mitchoff both lost contact with the meeting at various times during Tuesday’s two-plus-hour meeting, and Mitchoff called for tech improvements for the next meeting, now scheduled for March 31.

photo: A screenshot of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday in which supervisors participated remotely via video. – photo by Sam Richards

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Start75 March 24, 2020 at 6:28 PM

Why not take the old Doctors Hospital in Richmond too? All you need is staff and equipment!!


S March 24, 2020 at 7:21 PM

u mean Brookside.. it’s been leveled…

concord ygnacio March 24, 2020 at 6:30 PM

“The technology worked well most of the time, but Supervisors Federal Glover and Karen Mitchoff both lost contact with the meeting at various times”

I tried to video conference with my doctor oat Stanford today. My end tested well with their software, but the provider could not connect. So we did a phone meeting instead.


concord ygnacio March 24, 2020 at 7:06 PM

In Berkeley, the city council is researching options to commandeer hotel rooms for the homeless if push comes to shove:

In Philadelphia, they are considering using eminent domain to house the homeless if the seller’s price is too high:


ConcordRez March 24, 2020 at 8:37 PM

Thank you


Anonamel March 24, 2020 at 9:34 PM

K mart is empty and has huge floor space.. let’s face it no one is going to move into that space anyway. They can burn it down afterwards.


Ano March 24, 2020 at 10:16 PM

Best idea yet

Bob March 25, 2020 at 12:14 AM

I like it

yep March 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Agree good idea. burn it down. Wouldn’t ever want to stay in a hotel that housed a bunch of homeless. Bedbugs, fleas and scabies would no doubt infect the whole place. Almost impossible to eradicate.

John Hovno March 25, 2020 at 12:39 AM

Doctors Pinole.


Craig R Boehme March 25, 2020 at 8:32 AM

Lantier Tent Structures, based in Richmonf Ca. has 1-million square feet of tent available for COVID-19 temporary testing, isolation, and hospital overflow facilities. We are mobilized, ready for rapid responce, and eager to assist immediately. Please comtact , and pass alongour contact info :
Lantier Tent Structures
Craig Boehme
510 778 5095, home office 530 938 4526


T March 25, 2020 at 10:41 AM

You are awesome! I suggest you email board members directly.

Char March 25, 2020 at 7:24 PM

Any facility ( in any county) would be so there would be beds available in the acute care setting for COVID 19 patients. And patients that are not COVID19 but still care with a low acuity level would go elsewhere. Leaving that part out will scare people and cause panic.


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