County Prepares for Possible COVID-19 Patient Surge with Influx of Supplies and Equipment

The station can accommodate up to 250 beds -- beds local officials hope are never filled.
Members of the California National Guard set up cots in a hall at the San Mateo County Event Center.
Each Federal Medical Station can provide care for up to 250 people for three days before resupply is necessary.
The San Mateo County Event Center -- best known as the home of the County Fair and the Maker Faire Bay Area -- is ready to play a key role in the effort to control the outbreak of COVID-19.

A cavernous hall has been converted into a Federal Medical Station that can be used to relieve the strain on local hospitals if there is a surge in COVID-19 patients. 

Local officials hope the temporary medical station is never needed. 

“The latest projections estimate that a medical surge could push the hospitals in our county to capacity and we’ll need another location to house patients requiring particular levels of care,” said County Manager Mike Callagy. “We can’t just wait to see if this will happen. We need to prepare now so that we can be ready to care for our friends, neighbors and loved ones when they need it most.”


County Manager Mike Callagy addresses the news media while practicing social distancing at the Federal Medical Station now housed at the Event Center.

Managed by the Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS), federal medical stations are rapidly deployable caches containing beds, supplies, and medicines which can quickly turn a pre-identified building into a temporary medical shelter during a national emergency. Care can be provided for 50 to 250 displaced people for three days before resupply is necessary.

Units from the California National Guard set up the cots and other equipment necessary to operate the station.


Travis Kusman, the County's director of Emergency Medical Services, speak with the news media during a tour at the Event Center. Kusman's department plans, implements, evaluates, and regulates the 911 emergency medical services system and coordinates disaster medical preparedness and response.

The site is jointly operated by the County, which owns the Event Center land, and the state. San Mateo city leaders said they welcome the opportunity to assist.

“This is a major humanitarian effort to bring vital resources to our region, and support residents across San Mateo County. Our city's multi-agency emergency operations center will collaborate with our County partners to help ensure this critical health and safety operation runs smoothly in our community,” said San Mateo City Manager Drew Corbett.

Event Center leaders echoed the sentiment.

"At a time when resources are critically important, it is a privilege to provide support to the County and state, said Event Center CEO Dana Stoehr. "Our Board of Directors, management team, and staff stand united in committed service."

Quick Facts Federal Medical Stations
  • Each FMS has a base, treatment, and pharmacy module.
  • Each FMS can quickly turn a building into a temporary medical shelter.
  • Each FMS is modeled for all age populations.
  • Each FMS can be transported by air, water, or ground for maximum geographic distribution.

Fact Sheet on Federal Medical Station at San Mateo County Event Center