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COVID-19 Outbreak At Patton State Hospital Prompts Disability Rights CA To Demand Patient Release

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A worsening COVID-19 outbreak at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino has prompted the nonprofit Disability Rights California to demand the hospital release a sizable portion of its patients there. 

349 patients at Patton have tested positive for COVID-19 and 11 patients have died since May.

More than 100 patients have tested positive in the last 15 days.

The facility is a lockdown hospital for people with mental illness committed by the courts, and has 1,527 beds.

On Monday, Disability Rights California and the law firm Covington & Burling filed an emergency motion calling for the discharge of medically vulnerable patients from Patton, one of the largest psychiatrist hospitals in the country.

According to the motion, patients are trapped in a “tinderbox of infections” and more than half have medical conditions that put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Anne Hadreas is with Disability Rights California.

“We’ve asked for a 50 percent reduction in capacity and that would be through an expedited review of high-risk patients and the use of a court-appointed monitor or special master to assist that process. For individuals still in the facility, we’re looking for recommendations on issues such as ventilation, quarantine and isolation protocols and staff cohorting, or floating between units. We’re also asking for better patient education and access to cleaning supplies which has been woefully inadequate," Hadreas says. 

In an emailed statement to KVCR, Department of State Hospitals spokesperson Ken August said the department does not comment on pending litigation, but that it “continues to take all actions necessary to protect its patients and staff from COVID-19.”

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