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Taft, still without a positive test, begins preparations nonetheless for COVID-19 assault

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The city of Taft still thankfully has zero positive tests for the coronavirus, but city officials are working alongside West Side Family Health and other agencies and nonprofits to prepare for the possibility that could change.

On Wednesday, workers erected two tents outside the health clinic, which is not set up with beds for in-patient care. Taft officials are also looking at using the Taft High School boys gym as a medical treatment facility. The gym is a Red Cross-sanctioned emergency shelter but has not been previously envisioned as a potential crisis-status medical treatment area, according to West Side Executive Director Jerry Starr.

The Taft health center procured the four tents from the federal government and has deployed two of them. The two tents’ bed capacity is 24 patients, and they would not be used for seriously ill patients or those with complications, according to Ryan Shultz, director of health clinical operations.

The nearest full service hospital, Mercy Southwest in Bakersfield, is 37 miles away.

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