The state has secured Seton Medical — the 357-bed hospital in Daly City that came close to shutting down in March — to treat coronavirus patients, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.
“It’s now part of our portfolio,” Newsom said.
A second hospital in Southern California will be named Friday and with Seton the two sites will total 750 beds to treat patients, Newsom said.
San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa spoke Thursday about the turnaround for the medical center on Sullivan Avenue in Daly City.
“The hospital was going to close two weeks ago before the coronavirus hit,” Canepa said. “Now, because we kept Seton open and because of the coronavirus, they’re going to use it.”
“I’m so grateful we did not close this hospital,” he said.
San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties are at the epicenter of the fight against the virus, Canepa said.
“The world is watching,” he added.
State Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco — who represents the 19th Assembly District covering western San Francisco and northwestern San Mateo County, including Daly City — praised the state action involving Seton.
“It makes perfect sense,” he said.
Ting spoke about the state legislature approving $1 billion in coronavirus funding — money meant for such uses as beds at Seton to treat patients with the virus, the assemblyman said.
“I’m grateful the governor saw the urgent need to keep Seton Medical Center open during this pandemic,” said Ting.
Newsom’s announcement about the state securing Seton comes after a federal court filing Thursday by the owner of the medical center that refers to agreements with the state that included using 14 beds in the intensive care unit. A total of 92 beds on the fifth and seventh floors of the hospital were among state plans, according to the court filing by Seton owner Verity Health System.
Representatives of the governor contacted Verity to ensure the availability of sites to treat COVID-19 patients, the court filing said. The agreement with the state called for the designated space at Seton in exchange for a monthly payment of up to $5 million, Verity said.
Newsom’s announcement Thursday night that the state secured Seton — and that the medical center is now part of the state portfolio — indicates a greater role than what Verity outlined.
County Supervisor Dave Pine, asked Thursday about the role for Seton referred to in the federal court filing, had said he supports the state using the medical center.
“There’s extra capacity at Seton,” he said, “why not use it to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.”
The hospital in Daly City was built in 1965.
Seton was founded more a century ago in San Francisco and operated as Mary’s Help Hospital, Assemblyman Ting said in a statement.
The medical center moved to Daly City and became the largest employer with about 1,500 workers. Eighty percent of patients use MediCal and Medicare, Ting said.
San Mateo County Supervisors agreed on March 10, before the coronavirus led to a stay-at-home order in the Bay Area and later all of California, to assist a buyer of Seton with $20 million as a lifeline.
Canepa said then that if nothing was done that the medical center would probably close.