Sat. Sep 30th, 2023

They had the rooms and saw the need, so the University of California Riverside has become a place to house doctors and health care workers treating COVID-19 patients.

There are nearly 40 rooms available to local physicians and medical staff like Dr. Garvin Patel.

“They’ve given us open access until this crisis is over,” Patel said.

He’s been living at the extension building at UC Riverside since early April, leaving his wife and kids at home while he treats COVID-19 patients.

Patel said, “I don’t have to worry about what I’m bringing to my house, so I can focus exclusively on my work, which is trying to get my patients through this difficult time.”

The extension building mostly consists of office space, save for the 5th floor. Previously, the building housed a Holiday Inn, and around 40 rooms on the top floor were left unchanged to house visiting scholars.

“We wish there things we could do, and so when this call came it really was a no-brainer because we have these rooms that are empty, there’s a need within the community and my staff–they were all for it,” said Kevin Vaughn, dean of university extension at UCR.

Within a couple days, the rooms were open to medical professionals for free. Half of them have since been filled up. There are some stipulations, though. For the safety of the staff, the rooms aren’t being serviced and healthcare workers are required to park in one area, use one elevator and one entrance.

But those safety measures don’t stop health care workers like Patel from gaining peace of mind, while also feeling grateful for all essential workers.

Patel says about everyone still working, “They’re also out there helping us keep the country afloat and through this crisis, so everybody is doing their part.”

For more information for medical professionals wishing to be housed or for those who want to support efforts to house doctors, you can reach out to:


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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