Contractors Step Up for Construction of Additional Hospital Beds
As communities scramble to prepare for coronavirus patients, contractors around the country have been called on to step up and provide the manpower needed to create additional hospital space, sometimes in unusual places.
According to an article published by ConstructConnect, some of that work is taking place in hospital wings that have been closed off due to declining use, or even in whole hospitals that were shuttered in recent years due to budget cuts or declining rural populations. With the American Hospital Association estimating that some 30 hospitals have been closed per year recently, the space is often a turnkey project that requires light retrofitting to return it to use.
However, the need for additional hospital beds is so great in some cities that entire convention centers are being converted to makeshift medical facilities, as well as parks, auditoriums, and sports stadiums. In all of those cases, construction crews have become among the most essential front-line workers, racing against the clock to ensure that, should a surge in patients come, medical professionals have the facilities to handle it.
The Denver Convention Center is among the venues that have been converted to makeshift hospitals and workers did so at an incredible pace, the Denver Post says. According to officials, design and contract work that would normally take up to two years was completed in around 72 hours, and 300 workers have been mobilized to execute that design to create 2,000 “pods” that will span six exhibit halls in the facility.
Similarly, construction workers are being called on across the state of California, where officials are grappling with several hotspots and working quickly to expand the number of beds for patients. According to construction union officials quoted in a Politico article, while numerous construction projects were put on hold around the state at the start of the “stay at home” order, it was because workers needed to be repurposed into building projects directly intended to aid California in its fight against the coronavirus. Not only are workers constructing field hospitals, officials said, but also preparing to aid in the retooling of manufacturing facilities that may be used to create needed medical supplies.
ConstructConnect says that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scouted more than 1,000 locations around the country looking for potential locations to house future field hospitals and, though officials hope they never need them, they have blueprints prepared that can prepare any of those facilities in less than two weeks. Click HERE to read the entire article.