By CBSLA Staff

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Community Hospital Long Beach, which was closed in 2018, reopens Monday to help ease the burden on other hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

The hospital opened in 1924. It was closed in 2018 after its operator determined a state-mandated seismic retrofit was too expensive. Its new operator has since poured more than $6 million into the facility to make sure it would be safe to reopen as the state buckles under the increasing onslaught of COVID-19 cases.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted on New Year’s Eve that Community Hospital Long Beach had been licensed by the state’s Department of Public Health to reopen. Garcia said that the historic hospital will initially open with 51 beds for non-COVID-19 patients from other hospitals and nursing facilities that have been pre-arranged by their doctors.

“With hospitals across our city and state at capacity, this reopening is critical for the safety and care of our community, and couldn’t be more needed,” Garcia said in a tweet.

Nearly 400 people have died from coronavirus-related complications in Long Beach, according to officials. Southern California’s ICU capacity is at 0%.

The hospital will keep expanding its services and is set to open an emergency department in March. The license from the California Department of Public Health allows the hospital to operate up to 158 beds in its acute-care facility, officials said.