California Officials Provide Update on Alternate Care Sites

SACRAMENTO – Having successfully flattened the curve and addressed the initial potential surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the California Health and Human Services Agency and Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) today announced reductions in medical surge sites set up throughout the state.

Two leased hospital sites are expected to close next month and several other alternate care facilities will be placed into warm shutdown status to remain available as surge capacity should there be a subsequent wave of COVID-19 or other emergencies.

“Because of the great work of Californians across the state we have flattened the curve. This is why the stay-at-home order was issued, to save lives and to give the health care delivery system time to prepare,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

“I want to thank all our partners who assisted in getting these sites up so quickly to support our communities. Maintaining the use of these facilities going forward will provide us critical flexibility to safeguard the health and safety of Californians as we begin to reopen the state,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. 

Changes to the alternate care sites include:

  • Seton Hospital in Daly City and the Los Angeles Surge Hospital or LASH, are expected to complete their work in supporting California’s COVID-19 response no later than June 30.
  • Alternate care sites at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa and Porterville Developmental Center will implement a warm shutdown effective July 1. The state will monitor the need to redeploy these sites on a continuous basis.
  • The 400-bed Sleep Train Arena Alternate Care Site at the former home of the Sacramento Kings will close at the end of May and remain in a warm shutdown. The practice facility will continue to remain operational to support COVID-19 patients through at least June 30. The state will monitor the need to redeploy this site on a continuous basis.
  • The USNS Mercy Hospital Ship, which had served as an alternate care site to support the Los Angeles region, departed the Port of Los Angeles on May 15, 2020, to return to its home port in San Diego. Navy medical personnel from the ship will remain in the Los Angeles region to support California’s response.
  • Federal Medical Stations (FMS) at the following sites will continue to be maintained by counties and will be placed into a warm shutdown:
    • Riverside – Riverside County Fairgrounds and Vacant Sears Building
    • Los Angeles – LA Convention Center
    • San Mateo – San Mateo County Event Center
    • Contra Costa – The Craneway Pavilion
    • Fresno – Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center
    • San Diego – Palomar Medical Center

The remaining Federal Medical Stations equipment previously utilized in Butte and Shasta Counties will be staged for future deployment. A Federal Medical Station is being deployed to Imperial County for active status.

Today’s announcement follows a months-long effort by the state of California, hospital systems, local health jurisdictions, and local emergency medical service agencies to expand the capacity of the health care delivery system across California.

Data on hospitalizations indicate that California is showing signs of successful mitigation, and a flattening of the epidemiologic curve. This has allowed the health care delivery system time to prepare. 

The creation of these alternate medical sites was part of a wider effort that included obtaining federal assets, working with hospital partners to expand capacity within their existing infrastructure, supporting additional acute care specifically dedicated to COVID-19 patients, and creating alternate care sites in partnership with local government.




Monica Vargas

Monica is an Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, 2017 winter storms, North Bay Fires, Camp Fire, Ridgecrest Earthquake, 2020 Puerto Rico earthquake EMAC PIO, 2020 fire siege and the COVID-19 pandemic. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in the executive, international affairs and technology offices.

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