The Missouri National Guard is working to identify alternate care sites around the state to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
The Guard is working with state and federal partners, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Missouri Hospital Association, to conduct site surveys for the care facilities in six locations in the state. The tentative design of the facilities will provide the medical community with additional options for treatment on a temporary basis during the pandemic.
Missouri National Guard Adjutant General Levon Cumpton says “the sites are geographically dispersed to…support the entire state if needed and…allow the greatest synergy with existing healthcare systems that can take on the operation of these facilities.”
Sites the Guard assessed included the Hy-Vee Arena, Independence Event Center, Adams Mark Hotel, and Bartle Hall in the Kansas City area. Other sites were assessed in Saint Louis, Springfield, Joplin, Cape Girardeau, and Columbia areas.
635th Forward Engineer Support Team Main Commander Colonel Matthew Bacon is part of the assessment team. He says the “alternate medical care facilities are evaluated on…criteria, including areas where demand could exceed capacity, areas with spaces large enough for patient populations, and areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction.”
Alternate care facilities could be available in six weeks once approved, however, Bacon notes “the sites will not necessarily be used,” as “the purpose of the site inspections is to give the state options for alternate medical care locations, should the need arise.”
In addition to physically assessing sites, the Missouri National Guard has also completed virtual assessments of more than 100 sites. The virtual assessments evaluated the validity to house and separate patients from one another as needed.
Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order last week to begin mobilizing the Missouri National Guard to assist in the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. A representative from the 548th Transportation Company said on Friday afternoon that the Trenton unit had not yet been called to help.