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1280px SSU Schultz Library 4630 1Sonoma County is establishing an alternative care site (ACS) at Sonoma State University where about 580 patients can be treated in the event of a COVID-19 surge.

The site will be operated by the Petaluma Health Center, and patients will be placed in the Recreation Center and in a portion of the residential housing area on the SSU campus.

The county has been using COVID-19 modeling data to inform the development of an ACS to support local hospitals and has been working with health care providers and partners to identify the types of patients that might seek care, and facilities that might be needed. SSU was selected from a number of sites.

“We're grateful to Sonoma State for filling such an important role," said Susan Gorin, chair of the Board of Supervisors. "Having alternate care sites will be crucial if our hospitals experience a surge in patients. We hope we won't be in that situation, but it's imperative we plan for it and have resources ready."

The gymnasiums in the Recreation Center will be used for COVID-19-positive patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms, while the residential units will be used for those who are awaiting test results for COVID-19. A separate residential housing complex will be used for COVID-19 vulnerable individuals — those who are over the age of 65 and those with underlying medical conditions. The county said capacity at the site can be increased if necessary.

State Sen. Mike McGuire, who represents a significant portion of the county, was a proponent of having an ACS at SSU.

"This is a historic, all-hands-on-deck effort to expand our hospital capacity across this state and here at home in Sonoma County,” he said. “Opening up these over 500 beds will be a huge boost to expanding our local surge capacity. We are truly grateful for the one hundred percent partnership between Sonoma State University and the County of Sonoma — we know there’s much more work ahead.”

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