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COVID-19 Alternate Care Site at Cal Poly campus to be removed by Tuesday

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Posted at 6:46 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 22:38:37-04

The COVID-19 Alternate Care Site (ACS) that was installed at Cal Poly is being taken down after almost 13 months.

It was all-hands-on-deck Monday as workers moved out boxes of PPE from the warehouse located inside the recreation center at Cal Poly.

"I think we are at a point in the pandemic, you know, shifting to vaccinating our county residents, that we are to a point that we feel that it is appropriate to take down the ACS," said Kate Ballantyne, Alternate Care Site manager.

It was created to treat COVID-19 patients if local hospitals reached capacity. Health officials say, luckily, that didn't happen.

County officials say the site was planned for five phases, with a total of 900 beds. Only one phase was fully constructed with a total of 165 beds, and it was never used.

"Even though it was an expensive endeavor, number one - it gave our community a sense of security that we were prepared to respond if things got so bad that we needed to use it," Ballantyne said.

Ballantyne says the site was able to be used as storage for PPE equipment that local hospitals needed and also served as a training station for Medical Reserve Corps volunteers that went on to help at vaccine and testing clinics in the county.

The county says it will keep some PPE in storage. As for the beds, they are being donated to three different local non-profit camps.

The site is expected to be cleared out by late Tuesday.

"We are slowly going to be resetting our exercise spaces, repopulating a lot of the exercise equipment that had to move as a result of the ACS, and slowly but surely reopen the building to the Cal Poly students," said Takuto Doshiro, Interim Assistant Director of Facility Operations at Cal Poly.

County health officials say the money that was spent on the ACS came from the contingency budget but they are currently getting reimbursed with state and federal funds and donations.

The non-labor costs were estimated at $2.3 million.

"If this were to happen again, we've really built the base to be able to quickly respond and know what we are doing so I absolutely think it was worth it," Ballantyne said.