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Army Corps of Engineers assists to find temporary medical facilities

Posted at 7:13 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 17:09:11-04

PHOENIX — The Army Corps of Engineers is touring three Valley medical facilities this week to see if they can be repurposed to hospitalize coronavirus patients.

The facilities could add capacity to treat hundreds more people as COVID-19 cases soar in the coming weeks.

The CORE Institute has a specialty hospital for orthopedics near 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix with 35 beds.

“This is a fully licensed in-patient hospital facility,” said David Jacofsky, CEO of The CORE Institute. “We believe we can care for patients for COVID symptoms and problems just as well as we can care for other patients.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services is searching for ways to add as many as 13,000 more temporary hospital beds and 1,500 intensive care unit beds statewide. Through FEMA, ADHS asked for the Corps assistance to locate facilities and supervise building or renovating them to be suitable for health care.

”We look to see it's structurally sound, electrically sound, HVAC systems working,” said Bob Klein fro the Army Corps of Engineers

This week the Corps is also surveying another specialty hospital in Scottsdale and St. Luke‘s Medical Center in Phoenix.

St. Luke’s closed last November, and reopening it is a project that could take three to four weeks, according to Klein.

”We looked at doubling up some of the rooms,” Klein said. ”It could probably handle over 200 patients right now as soon as we finish cleaning it up.“

The Army Corps of Engineers would manage construction needs, but it would be up to the state and local medical providers to supply the equipment and staff.

“We will convert the facility to whatever type of facility it needs to be to best serve the community,” Jacofsky said.