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County dismantles COVID-19 alternate care site at Cal Poly 

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Photo of the care site fully set up as of April, 2020.

—County of San Luis Obispo officials announced more promising news for SLO County this week – efforts are underway to demobilize and dismantle the COVID-19 Alternate Care Site (ACS) at Cal Poly. The site will soon be returned to Cal Poly for use as an on-campus recreation center.

“We hoped we would never have to use the ACS but were prepared for the worst,” said Wade Horton, County Administrative Officer, and Emergency Services Director. “It’s a relief to say that we no longer need an ACS for our community and that, even during the surge in COVID-19 cases here this past winter, our hospitals were able to provide the quality care our community members needed.”

As hospitals across the nation and globe reached capacity in caring for COVID-19 patients, the ACS at Cal Poly was meant to relieve local hospitals by caring for patients who were too sick to care for themselves at home but did not need acute care provided at the hospital. The county partnered with Cal Poly, Dignity Health, Tenet Healthcare, and RRM at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to quickly transform the Cal Poly Recreation Center into an alternate care site for COVID-19 patients. Local contractors included Trust Automation, Thoma Electric, McCall Plumbing, and others, who quickly answered the call to ‘stand up’ the facility.

More than 250 Medical Reserve Corps volunteers were trained to staff the site and have since been utilized for a far brighter purpose – providing vaccines to their fellow community members. The site was also used to store supplies, like ventilators and PPE, which were provided to hospitals as they battled the pandemic.

“The monumental effort that our community undertook to ‘stand up’ this site, in such a short amount of time, is astounding,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “And I would say it only pales in comparison to the work that our community did to slow the spread, and ensure we never had to use it.”

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded public health information line at (805) 788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at (805) 543-2444 is available Mon-Fri, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to assist with COVID-19 questions.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.