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Dignity Health sets up triage tents at urgent care centers for potential patient surge

Lompoc Urgent Care
Triage tent has been set up at the Dignity Health Urgent Care in Lompoc (Courtesy of Dignity Health)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Dignity Health’s Pacific Central Coast Health Center has set up triage tents at its five Central Coast urgent care centers to help prepare for a potential patient surge related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tents will be used to access and assess individuals that are experiencing possible coronavirus symptoms.

They are not currently active, but have been placed on standby should the need arise.

“We want to keep our communities informed of the efforts we are making and the process they should follow for receiving care. If someone is feeling ill with upper respiratory symptoms such as, fever, cough, or mild shortness of breath we ask that they contact their primary care physician first,” said Scott Robertson, MD, President and CEO of Pacific Central Coast Health Centers. “If their physician is unavailable, our urgent care centers are here for the community. If an individual is in distress or are having a health emergency, they should visit the Emergency Department immediately for care.”

Dignity Health points out the tents will not be specimen collection centers. Patients will be tested for COVID-19 only if a physician believes it to be appropriate.

"COVID-19 testing resources are still fairly limited across the Central Coast and across the State of California, so we'll do a clinical evaluation to ensure that those receiving testing are appropriate and we can collect those specimens on site," said Dr. Robertson.

There five Dignity Health Urgent Care locations are:

  • Atascadero -5920 W. Mall (805) 461-2131
  • Pismo Beach - 877 Oak Park Blvd. (805) 474-8450
  • Santa Maria -2271 South Depot St. (805) 922-0561
  • Orcutt -1102 Clark Ave. Suite A (805) 332-8185
  • Lompoc -217 W. Central Ave. Suite G (805) 735-4292

These facilities remain open to treating patients suffering from minor injuries and other medical concerns unrelated to COVID-19.

Triage tents are also currently set up at local Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals, including Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, and Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Like the urgent care tents, the hospital triage facilities will only be activated should it be necessary due to an influx of patients.

"It depends on the volume," said Dr. Robertson. "Once we start getting patients in with a lot of concerns about COVID-19, then we'll access each independently to determine whether to activate the tents. Right now because people are practicing social distancing. They are staying home as ordered by the State of California, we are really seeing the volumes at a very low level, both in our urgent cares and our emergency departments, so we're not quite there yet, but we'll be ready for when the surge happens."

For More information, visit

California / Community / Health / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Maria - North County

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.