Chula Vista hospitals call for federal help over surge in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 5:56 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 20:56:35-04

CHULA VISTA (KGTV) - Two South Bay hospitals with a surge in COVID-19 patients are concerned about whether cases in Mexico are playing a factor.

The leaders of Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare are reporting that their Chula Vista hospitals are currently caring for more COVID-19 positive patients and patients under investigation than any of their other acute-care hospitals combined.

In a letter just sent to federal health officials, both health care organizations are requesting urgent action on behalf of providers along the U.S-Mexico border. The letter reads in part, "The inadequacy of medical resources in the state of Baja California, including the testing necessary to respond to COVID-19, poses a very real threat to San Diego's ability to manage both its COVID‐19 response and its expedient reopening of the economy."

The health care organizations report that Baja is reporting a surge in positive cases with a lack of infrastructure and resources. Part of the letter also reads, "Recently, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista have seen daily increases in COVID patients at rates significantly higher than facilities in other regions of San Diego County."

Both are only a few miles from the border.

“This is about being proactive [and] understanding that the border right now is a big vulnerability for San Diego,” says San Diego County District 3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. She tells 10News that there are more than 200,000 U.S. citizens living in Mexico, many of whom could strain local providers.

“So, what we're seeing now is an uptick in the number of U.S. citizens that are coming across the border and when they arrive here they've been in pretty bad shape. Critical cases,” she adds.

She’s sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence calling in part for mutual aid to Mexico to treat patients in Mexico, more personal protective equipment (PPE) on both sides of the border and the setup of a temporary border hospital.

Both Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare are asking for border agents to conduct medical checks. They're also asking that more PPE and medication be sent to San Diego.