KING CITY — Monterey County has started the process of demobilizing Operation Oasis, its isolation housing program that assisted more than a thousand residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of June 24, referrals are no longer being made to Operation Oasis and assigned staff have reduced hours dedicated to the program. The trailers being used to house residents for isolation began a month-long demobilization process on July 1.
“Operation Oasis helped save lives during the pandemic, but community needs are changing and the county is adjusting,” said Gerry Malais, Monterey County Emergency Services manager, in a news release. “Covid-19 vaccine is now widely available; cases are becoming less severe and those who are infected are recovering more quickly. While we are ending the Operation Oasis program, the county would be able to provide isolation services using local motels should a significant change occur, which would require these services once again.”
Operation Oasis was part of the county’s Covid-19 Alternate Housing Program that was established at the onset of the emergency. In the early stages of the pandemic, isolation of individuals during their infectious period was one of the few strategies available to prevent transmission to other high-risk individuals.
Operation Oasis was developed in May 2020 as an Alternative Housing Site to offer assistance to residents and families recovering from Covid-19 who were not eligible for shelter under other programs, such as Project Roomkey and Housing for the Harvest.
At the height of its use, Operation Oasis used both local hotels and trailers acquired from FEMA.
Most recently, the program has been centered in King City at San Lorenzo Park, where trailers are set up behind privacy fencing. The program provided meals and medical services to participants so they could recover safely.
Over the last few weeks and months, use of the program has been on the decline and county emergency officials believe it is time to end the program.
The trailers being used for the program will be removed from San Lorenzo Park, repaired, sanitized and stored until their new purpose is determined.
County staff that have been dedicated to the program for nearly two-and-a-half years will be able to return to their regular county duties; most of those workers have come from the Department of Social Services.
The change also allows San Lorenzo Park to reopen for recreational vehicles in the coming months.