The Orange County Fairgrounds says it’s receiving 10 trailers and is looking at three buildings on the 150-acre state property in Costa Mesa for potential emergency housing and medical services, as county officials try to find ways to stretch out hospital capacity for coronavirus response.
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The announcement came at the bottom of an emailed notice with updates about the fairgrounds’ equestrian center, and was sent out on Thursday by the fairgrounds.
Neither Fairgrounds Communications Director Terry Moore nor Fair Board of Directors Chair Sandra Cervantes returned Voice of OC phone messages seeking comment Thursday night.
The email says the fairgrounds received notice that 10 trailers would be delivered by the end of the day with the purposes of “potential emergency housing.”
The notice doesn’t explicitly say whether the trailers be used to house homeless people who have become sick or exposed to the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, though state efforts are underway to provide more than 1,300 travel trailers for local jurisdictions to house homeless people who need to be isolated or quarantined.
Additionally, three buildings in the Main Mall area, which is the cluster of large pavilion buildings and “The Hangar” at the center of the fairgrounds “are being considered for emergency medical use,” reads the email.
“Details about how the facilities will be utilized and who will occupy them is not yet known. The timetable is also in the works as talks continue. When information becomes known, we will issue an advisory,” it adds.
Fairgrounds, city and county officials had been discussing with the state how the site would be used, if at all, as a source of emergency services.
At the beginning of the month, the state announced that the nearby Fairview Developmental Center, also in Costa Mesa, would be used as a site to treat overflow patients with low to moderate illness. Around 1,100 new beds are planned for that facility.
The efforts come as Orange County awaits a possible surge in coronavirus cases, and as hospitals both in the county and across the country are straining under crucial supply shortages and medical equipment depletions.
Meanwhile the fairgrounds has all but closed its facilities to the public and cancelled a number of planned concerts and entertainment events, under health guidelines to limit public interactions and nonessential trips outside.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporting fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @photherecord.