Credit: Andy Sherar | Mustang News

San Luis Obispo County has put the Recreation Center’s COVID-19 alternate care site into a “warming-up phase,” according to Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Executive Director Marcy Maloney.

In a Jan. 6 ASI Board of Directors meeting, Maloney said that this new phase requires that the Recreation Center’s alternate care site is ready for operation within a five-day notice. This means that electricians and other officials sent from the county have been working inside the recreation center to get the alternate care site to operating function, according to Maloney.

The preparation of the recreation center for possible use as a COVID-19 alternate care facility comes amidst the surge in COVID-19 cases within San Luis Obispo County and the state.

San Luis Obispo County is located in the Southern California region of the state’s regional stay-at-home orders. With ICU capacity at 0% in the Southern California region, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended stay-at-home orders for the Southern California region on Dec. 29. Stay-at-home orders will remain until the region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%.

San Luis Obispo County also reported nearly 900 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 4 after the holiday weekend.

However, even if county hospitals reach capacity and the recreation center is needed to house overflow COVID-19 patients, the alternate care facility would not be used for critical or ICU care.  Instead, it would serve as a recovery facility for patients to spend their last few days recovering from COVID-19.

Maloney said that there is still a low probability that the recreation center would need to be used as a COVID-19 alternate care facility. However, she said that the county still needs to be prepared at this time in order for the center to be operational within five days if necessary.

If the recreation center is needed as an alternate care facility, Maloney said that ASI is unsure if they would be able to keep the outdoor operations open on the pool deck for student use.

“The next six weeks are going to be very challenging as far as our numbers go,” Maloney said in the Jan. 6 ASI Board of Directors meeting. “We’re hoping we can get through that and won’t have to close any part of what we’ve got open.”

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