San Luis Obispo County Public Health announced modifications to Cal Poly’s Recreation Center to establish an alternative care site for coronavirus patients will start Monday, March 30, according to County Emergency Operations Director Wade Horton.

The county plans to have the Recreation Center ready for use starting April 8.

Changes to the center to accommodate patients would include running on extra power, means to provide oxygen and creating a receiving center to process patients, Horton said. The department anticipates a 400-700 hospital bed capacity for the potential care site.

County Health Officer Penny Borenstein said they have 85 people from the San Luis Obispo Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) on standby to staff alternative care sites. The group  is made up of trained volunteers who assist public health efforts during times of special need or disaster.

In the event that COVID-19 patients are brought to the university, no Cal Poly students, faculty or staff be in the Rec Center while COVID-19 patients are present, University Spokesperson Matt Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News. The only potential exception would be limited essential trade workers to service the facility in the unlikely event of an infrastructure emergency. Any individual trade workers uncomfortable with servicing the building would not be required to do so, Lazier wrote.

“We will just take it one day at a time and see what the county’s needs are,” President Jeffrey Armstrong said at a SLO Public Health press conference Thursday. “And we will step up and see if we can assist.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect additional comment from University Spokesperson Matt Lazier. 

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