Governor Newsom Announces Progress in Expanding Hospital Capacity to Fight Coming Surge in COVID-19 Cases


At former basketball arena being transformed into an alternate care site, Governor announces state has already secured up to 4,613 additional beds to fight COVID-19 and relieve pressure on the health care delivery system

California is setting up eight federal medical stations across the state and has leased and reopened two recently shuttered hospitals to accommodate overflow patients

Last month, the USNS Mercy docked near Los Angeles to ease strain on health care delivery system resources 


SACRAMENTO – Today at the former Sleep Train Arena, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California is making progress in securing additional beds to treat COVID-19 patients and relieve pressure on the health care delivery system. The Governor announced California has already secured up to 4,613 additional beds at alternate care sites and shuttered hospitals to care for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients, with even more capacity being finalized.

The state has aggressively planned for a surge in hospitalizations in the coming weeks and aims to add 50,000 beds to our existing hospital capacity of nearly 75,000 beds. At least 60 percent of those additional beds, or 30,000, will come from within existing hospitals, and the state will secure the remaining beds, up to 20,000.  

“California has been working closely with hospitals to aggressively expand our state’s ability to treat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “As a result, California is adding tens of thousands more hospital beds, sourcing and distributing lifesaving medical supplies and ventilators, and significantly expanding our health care workforce. This is an all hands on deck effort, and I am extremely grateful to all of our partners in the medical community, the private sector and across government for helping us get this far. All of these efforts will only pay off if we continue to slow the spread of the virus. Staying home will save lives.”

The former Sleep Train Arena, now known as Natomas Arena, in Sacramento is one of several alternate care sites that will provide care for less sick patients, thus allowing hospitals to focus their resources on those with the most acute needs. The state’s alternate care sites to date include:

  • Eight federal medical stations operating or being set up across the state, each with a maximum of 250 beds; 
  • The former Sleep Train Arena, which has a maximum capacity of 400 beds; 
  • Fairview Developmental Center, with a maximum capacity of 520 beds; 
  • Porterville Developmental Center, with a maximum capacity of 246 beds; 
  • San Carlos Hotel, with a maximum capacity of 120 beds; and 
  • CPMC – Pacific Campus, with a maximum capacity of 291 beds.

Alternate care sites will be staffed using a number of resources, including the newly established California Health Corps. The Health Corps is made up of health care providers, behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators who sign up to work at alternate care sites. They will add to the existing state health care workforce with underutilized and underemployed professionals, and with qualified student, retiree, and out-of-state health care providers. 

In addition, the state has leased two hospitals and received a naval medical ship from the federal government as surge facilities:

  • Seton Medical Center in Daly City, which has a maximum capacity of 220 beds; 
  • St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, which has a maximum capacity of 266 beds; and 
  • USNS Mercy, which has an easily-accessible maximum capacity of up to 550 beds. (Note: USNS Mercy has a capacity of 1,000 bunk beds).

Visit for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those affected by the outbreak. 



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