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Vacant buildings at Sonoma State converted into potential care sites for COVID-19 patients

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ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KRON) – Members of the California National Guard are at Sonoma State University helping to convert some vacant buildings there into housing for potential coronavirus patients.

Members of 349th Quartermaster Company, a National Guard troop out of Vallejo, help set up cots inside one of two gymnasiums on the Sonoma State Campus.

“When will be set up for patients who have mild symptoms, one a little bit more moderate symptoms so we have capacity for about I think 110 carts were being set up there,” Paul Gullixson said.

Several hundred dorm rooms vacant since the campus switched to remote learning back in March are also being converted.

“Those patients who are waiting for test results or at risk. Some will be those in that 65 and above age group not in a position to be self quarantined I need a place to stay,” Gullixson said.

After the work is done, Sonoma State will be ready for 500 plus patients overseen by the County’s Health Services Department.  

This alternative care site is part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s push for 60,000 beds across the state for surge capacity.

“If we don’t use these beds all better but it’s better to be prepared than not to,” Gullixson said.

The county has contracted the space for 30 days with the option to extend but because so much is unknown about this virus, it’s hard to say how long the beds here will be needed.

“Like everyone else we’re operating in the dark here. so we really don’t know if this is gonna be for 30 days, three months maybe more. It really depends so many people have said before me the virus itself is going to dictate that and will find out as we go forward,” Gullixson said.

The buildings being used as the alternate care site will be fenced off and are in a more secluded part of the campus so the patients can be kept at a safe distance from those still working there or the 150 students still living there.

The first group of patients are expected to move in sometime next week. 

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