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 California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference on Friday, May 22, 2020 at the California Veterans House in Yountville, California. (AP Photo / Eric Risberg, Pool)

EL CENTRO, California, USA (AP) – California is building a “field medical station” that will have up to 125 beds to help an agricultural region along the Mexican border that has seen an increase in coronavirus cases, Governor Gavin Newsom reported Friday.

While many parts of the state relax restrictions on confinement, Newsom said Imperial County, with a population of 175,000 in the far southeast of the state, “remains a cause for concern.”

The official indicated that said facilities could be mounted in other parts of the state “if we begin to see some incidents of propagation that cannot be contained, especially in communities that do not necessarily have the resources of other communities.”

“It is an expression of this: An expression of faith and devotion to this cause, as well as its public health and the virulence of this disease,” he said.

The Imperial Valley, which supplies many of the vegetables offered in US supermarkets during the winter, is on the other side of the border with Mexicali, a large industrial city with a million inhabitants that has a huge influence on its economy. and culture.

It is unclear what caused the increase in coronavirus patients. But Adolphe Edward, director general of the El Centro Regional Medical Center, is among those who believe that Americans living in Mexicali contribute greatly.

Edward told the El Centro city council on Friday that the temporary facility in the Imperial Valley University gymnasium is slated to open Monday to receive transfers from local hospitals, with state and federal support.

“I’m so glad it’s here because it’s a safety net,” said Edward.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 had dropped to 60 on Friday from 74 on Tuesday, according to the Imperial County Health Department website. But the patients have gone to other hospitals in Southern California. The region’s two hospitals sent 16 patients out of the region on Monday and Tuesday alone.

The El Centro Regional Medical Center, the largest in the Imperial Valley, had 52 coronavirus patients on Friday, down from 65 in the early days of this week, said Edward, who said he was “calm” but expressed concern of that socializing over Memorial Day weekend in Wars can lead to more cases.

Janette Angulo, director of public health for Imperial County, said Thursday that the temporary facility at Imperial Valley University would house 80 beds and serve less sick patients who are transferred from local hospitals.

Angulo said that US citizens in Mexicali may be affecting the count, but that it is difficult to quantify. The region has many inhabitants with dual nationality who live in that Mexican city.

“We are a binational community,” he said. “There is a lot of interaction both north and south every day in our regular lives.”