O.C.'s Fairview Developmental Center, housing COVID-19 patients, was set to close but will stay open

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa
With regional COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing, the state has decided to reactivate the Fairview Developmental Center, an alternative care site in Costa Mesa, which was set to demobilize June 30.
(File Photo)

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa — which was partially reoutfitted in April to accept hundreds of patients recovering from COVID-19 but was barely used while Orange County and surrounding areas kept infection rates flat — was set to be demobilized June 30. But plans have changed.

Due to a consistently low patient count that barely crept into double digits, state agencies in charge of the facility had been in the process of sending staff and resources elsewhere. Now, with regional COVID-19 hospitalizations continuing to climb, a group of state and county emergency and health agencies has decided to reactivate the Costa Mesa alternative care site.

Orange County officials on Thursday reported 652 new coronavirus infections and said 556 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, an 11.4% increase in the three-day average hospitalization rate. Among those being treated in hospitals, 193 patients were in ICU units.

Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau said in a news conference Thursday he was concerned with the recent spikes.


“Our number of hospitalizations have increased in the past weeks, particularly this week,” Chau said. “If the numbers go up, it means we really need to do more to prevent people from getting infected.”

Fairview, a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities from 1959 until its last patients were relocated earlier this year, has been equipped to accept low-acuity, ambulatory COVID-19 patients who didn’t require hospitalization but who, for varying reasons, are unable to return to their homes.

“They could be individuals who were at a hospital and did not need additional treatment but did need that recovery time,” said Costa Mesa Fire Chief Dan Stefano, who serves as a liaison representing the city in matters related to Fairview.

The site has 50 beds — 11 of which are currently occupied, according to Stefano — and has the capacity to house up to 760 patients, according to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

In a release issued Wednesday, OES officials connected the decision to reactivate Fairview and three other alternative care sites, in Tulare, Imperial and San Mateo counties, to the statewide rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“As hospitalizations continue to rise, these alternative care sites will expand capacity and support additional acute care specifically dedicated to COVID-19 patients,” the release stated. “The alternative care sites will provide care for patients and ease strain on healthcare delivery systems. This will allow hospitals to focus their resources on those with the most acute needs.”

The reactivated sites together have the capacity to treat 1,507 patients.

Cardine writes for Times Community News.