JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri National Guard is currently working to identify alternate care sites around the state to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
The Missouri National Guard is working with state and federal partners including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Hospital Association to conduct site surveys for alternate care facilities in six locations throughout the state. The tentative design of the care facilities will provide the medical community with additional options for treatment on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These site assessments are another example of how we are putting plans in place to anticipate needs and support our communities during this unprecedented fight against COVID-19,” said Brig. Gen. Levon Cumpton, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. “The sites are geographically dispersed to be able to support the entire state if needed and to allow the greatest synergy with existing healthcare systems that can take on the operation of these facilities,” Cumpton said.
The Guard assessed the following sites for suitability: In the Kansas City area, Hy-Vee Arena, Independence Event Center, the Adams Mark Hotel and Bartle Hall (KC Convention Center). In the St. Louis area, America’s Center Convention Complex and The Dome at America’s Center; in the Springfield area, Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center and John Q. Hammons Arena; in the Joplin area, Missouri Southern Campus Leggett and Platt Athletic Center; in the Cape Girardeau area, the Show-Me Center and Student Recreation Center; and in the Columbia area, the Hearnes Center and Mizzou Arena.
Col. Matthew Bacon, 635th Forward Engineer Support Team-Main commander and part of the assessment team said, “Alternate medical care facilities are evaluated on several criteria including areas where demand could exceed capacity (bed space), areas with spaces large enough for patient populations and areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction.” Should the need arise, alternate care facilities could be available in six weeks once they are approved. “These assessed sites will not necessarily be used. The purpose of site inspections is to give the state options for alternate medical care locations, should the need arise,” Bacon said.
In addition to sites physically assessed, the Missouri National Guard also completed virtual assessments of over 100 sites. The virtual assessments evaluated the validity to house patients and separate patients from one another as needed.