Sonoma County, Sonoma State University and the Petaluma Health Center are establishing an alternate care site at the university in Rohnert Park that will house approximately 580 COVID-19-positive patients in need of hospital care.
The non-profit Petaluma Health Center will operate the site, and patients will be placed in the Recreation Center and in a portion of the residential housing area on the SSU campus.
The Recreation Center's gymnasiums will be used for COVID-19-positive patients with mild to moderate symptoms and the residential units will be used for people waiting for test results for COVID-19.
A separate residential housing complex will be used for COVID-19 vulnerable individuals, such as people over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions.
Sonoma County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday she expects the number of COVID-19 cases in the county to peak in late May or early June. A consulting firm hired by the county said that would require the hospitalization of 1,500 patients.
As of Tuesday evening, there were 120 COVID-19 cases, 81 of them active in the county. Thirty-eight patients have recovered and there has been one death.
"We're grateful to Sonoma State for filling such an important role," Board of Supervisors Chair Susan Gorin said. "Having alternate care sites will be crucial if our hospitals experience a surge of patients. We hope we won't be in that situation, but it's imperative we plan for it and have resources ready," Gorin said.
Sonoma County officials were working with health care providers and partners to identify the types of patients and facilities it would need to support specific populations that otherwise would seek care at health facilities. SSU was selected after county staff evaluated a number of sites.
"We are committed to working with the County of Sonoma and our community partners to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 virus on our community, and particularly on the most vulnerable," Kathryn Powell, CEO of the Petaluma Health Center.