By Kim McCarl, Assistant to the Director, Communications, Contra Costa Health Services
As part of local emergency preparations, the county has been exploring and preparing “alternate care sites” in preparation for the likely surge of patients in local hospitals who test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The building, which is normally used as an exhibit hall during the annual county fair, is located in the Contra Costa Event Park at 1201 W. 10th Street and has capacity for 43 people who test positive for COVID-19 and need medical care, but do not need to be hospitalized.
“The fairgrounds alternate care site is a great example of state, county, city and non-profit agencies coming together to create increased capacity to care for patients needing fewer resources, which frees up critical hospital beds in our healthcare system to fight COVID-19,” said Federal Glover, District V Supervisor.
Contra Costa and other Bay Area counties recently extended a regional stay-at-home order through May 3 hoping that continued physical-distancing measures will reduce the impact of COVID-19 on area hospitals.
“The Contra Costa Event Center, City of Antioch and the Red Cross really stepped up to help make this site happen,” said Diane Burgis, District III Supervisor. “This site would not be possible without their assistance.”
The Red Cross has shared expertise in standing up critical care sites for individuals displaced by emergency situations with County officials working on the Fairgrounds site.
“The Red Cross is proud to be working closely with our government and public health officials to support their efforts to keep our community safe with the planning and opening of the alternate care site in Antioch,” said Briana Taylor, Regional Disaster Chair for the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. “It is impressive to see the whole community work together during this stressful time.”
The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond is equipped with 250 beds for COVID-positive patients who do not require hospitalization. Should a surge require the facility to open, COVID-positive patients are likely to be housed at the Craneway Pavilion first. (See related article) The Concord Shelter and Philip Doran Respite Center will house individuals who may not need hospitalization but require closer observation than provided at Craneway Pavilion. The county anticipates that Contra Costa Event Center will be the last facility to open.
“Although the City of Antioch did not request for the county to select a site within our city, we understand the gravity of the moment,” said Antioch Mayor Sean Wright. “In the fight to save lives, the world has been asked to step up and do more, Antioch is no exception to this reality. By working together, we will hopefully be able to minimize the number of lives lost to this horrible pandemic.”
The 23rd District Agricultural Association is home to the Contra Costa County Fair that has hosted hundreds of thousands of guests for over seventy-five years. The Event Park celebrates all that is best in Contra Costa County while preserving the agricultural heritage of the community.
“The Contra Costa Event Park is here to help the community during this time of need, and happy to work with the County of Contra Costa as we all work together to end this pandemic,” said Joe Brengle, chief executive officer of the Contra Costa Event Park.
“The county has been working in two of our buildings to prepare them should the need arise,” he told the Herald on Wednesday.
The Fair Board cancelled this year’s fair during their meeting on March 18. (See related article)
Contra Costa County and the Board of Supervisors continue to work in real time to respond to community needs while preparing to meet the challenges ahead.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.