Moving Patients in a Pandemic A Hybrid California Model Rescues Overwhelmed Hospitals

Imperial County, located in southeastern California, has a population of approximately 181,000, and shares borders with Arizona and Mexico. El Centro serves as the county seat, and the county’s economy is based primarily on agriculture. Two hospitals serve the county: El Centro Regional Medical Center and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District. Imperial County has been a COVID-19 “hot spot,” and in May 2020, Mexicali’s hospitals reached capacity and announced that they would divert American patients to El Centro, creating a near-instant patient surge, and necessitating the movement of over 625 patients. This article details that process.
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