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Physician assistant students, faculty volunteer at COVID-19 Alternate Care Site

COVID-19 Alternate Care Site under construction
Photo by: Provided
Monterey County is preparing a COVID-19 Alternate Care Site at Marina Airport. CSUMB MSPA Program faculty and staff are volunteering at the site in a variety of roles.

SEASIDE, Calif., May 15, 2020 - Students and faculty with CSU Monterey Bay’s Master of Physician Assistant (MSPA) Program continue to volunteer their time, energy and skills to fight COVID-19. They are now helping set up an Alternate Care Site (ACS) at Marina Airport.

As part of local emergency preparations, Monterey County officials are readying the site for the potential influx of patients to local hospitals. The site is designated for COVID-19 positive patients who have a range of basic medical needs, but do not need hospitalization. These sites will not be open to the public, nor serve as walk-up medical facilities.

We are very proud of the physician assistant students and faculty who are dedicating their free time and weekends to collaborate with the leadership at Natividad Medical Center and the county, designing these alternate care facilities and filling the gaps where help is so desperately needed."
Christopher Forest, MSPA program director

“The four hospitals in Monterey County are cooperating to establish an Alternate Care Site that could accept patients with coronavirus, should area hospitals begin to approach their individual surge capacities,” said Craig Walls, chief medical officer of Natividad Medical Center. The private aerospace company Joby Aviation is also collaborating on the site preparation.

"We are very proud of the physician assistant students and faculty who are dedicating their free time and weekends to collaborate with the leadership at Natividad Medical Center and the county, designing these alternate care facilities and filling the gaps where help is so desperately needed. It’s exciting to see everyone working together for a common goal," said Christopher Forest, MSPA program director.

MSPA students have taken on a variety of volunteer roles, including supply coordination and logistics, volunteer outreach, and public communication. Michael Jorgensen, an MSPA faculty Instructor, has been working with Walls to ensure clinical operations run smoothly at the site. Both are members of the county’s Emergency Operations Center team.

Jorgensen brings extensive disaster response experience. He served in the U.S. military as a Navy Corpsman, in addition to working in conflict zones globally with Doctors Without Borders.

Physician assistant student Sara Adkison said Jorgensen’s “level of enthusiasm motivates others to go above and beyond.”

“His dedication is not only an inspiration to us as students, but also serves as an example of the type of provider we all hope to become,” she said.

More volunteers are needed to fill the healthcare and supportive roles at the Marina ACS. For information and to apply to become a volunteer, go online to the County of Monterey job website listing.

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