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Where you’d normally find booths during your favorite con, hospital equipment now dominates the view.
Over the past two weeks, the Greater Columbus Convention center has been transformed into a makeshift field hospital to treat roughly 1,000 COVID-19 patients. The hope is that the space won’t be needed at all, but that all depends on the state and city’s efforts to keep the virus at bay.
“If we stay the course, we may never need to open this facility,” he said during a virtual press conference. “And that would be an incredible victory for the people of Central Ohio.”
If the new alternative care center does have to be used, it will house non-critical COVID-19 cases for three major hospital systems in Columbus: Mount Carmel Health System, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, and Ohio Health.
The current plan for the Convention Center site is only to be used for overflow patients. Right now, local hospitals have over 2,000 beds for COVID-19 patients available. If that capacity is reached, hospitals will be expected to find room within the hospital to treat patients before the alternative care center would open.
“This facility will operate more like a field hospital than a typical hospital you might be used to,” Falcone said. “It will be used for COVID-19 patients who are not sick enough to require full hospital care but not well enough to go home. They’ll come directly from one of our Columbus hospitals after a period of evaluation.”
Franklin County has over 1,000 cases of coronavirus right now, with 210 people being hospitalized so far. 18 people in the county have died. Ohio was quick to act in implementing social distancing guidelines, as well as ordering stay-at-home orders, and that early intervention is starting to become evident.
In other states, some with much smaller populations, their cases have risen dramatically. Columbus Public Health commissioner Mysheika Roberts is taking the old adage, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst” to heart.
“We stand ready, we are prepared,” said Roberts. “And as the mayor said, we’re hoping that we don’t need to use it, but I’d rather be ready and prepared than scramble to find a solution.”
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