The Coast News Group
Palomar Medical Center
A "hospital within a hospital'' will be installed on the 10th and 11th floors of the Escondido facility. Courtesy photo
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Federal field hospital planned for Palomar Medical Center

ESCONDIDO — A 250-bed federal field hospital is planned for Palomar Medical Center, San Diego County health officials announced Sunday.

The “hospital within a hospital” will be installed on the 10th and 11th floors of the Escondido facility as a fully functioning hospital and will add to the capacity of beds needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

“The facility will be used for those in our community who need it the most,” Dr. Nick Yphantides, San Diego County’s chief medical officer, said during the announcement outside Palomar Medical Center. “It will be a community-wide resource.”

The bed capacity in the region will need to grow in the coming weeks, Yphantides said, “as a storm begins to reach our region.”

The decision about whether the federal medical station will serve COVID-19 patients or other kinds of patients will be made at a later time, depending on “which patients will need it the most,” the medical officer said.

Doctors and nurses at Palomar Medical Center will staff the new medical station, officials said.

Officials said it was too early to predict the cost of staffing and supplying equipment to the medical station.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher called the added bed capacity “a positive step forward for our region.”