YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Monday that the Covelli Centre has been selected as one of six alternative sites in Ohio to hold patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Representatives from health care systems, local governments, state agencies and county emergency management agencies teamed up to find sites suitable for holding larger numbers of patients.
The decision was made by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio National Guard.
“After visiting locations and assessing for things such as distance to an existing hospital, conditions safe for patients and health care professionals and space to meet the region’s expected needs,” DeWine said.
The goal is to double hospital capacity during the crisis, and the Covelli Centre could hold around 250 coronavirus patients.
Dr. Jim Kravec, chief clinical officer of Mercy Health in Youngstown, says the patients placed there will be the ones recovering from the virus who aren’t quite ready to go home yet.
“We didn’t want to have those patients necessarily in our hospitals compared to those who are the sickest, those who might need ventilators,” he said.
This will help offload the number of patients and free up equipment and beds for those who might need them more.
The makeshift hospital will be operated by administrators, clinicians and support staff from Mercy Health and Mercy Health Physician Group.
“Caring for patients with a similar illness, similar stages of their disease is going to be easier in a setting like this where we’re going to be able to monitor these patients in a larger setting like this,” Dr. Kravec said.
The Covelli Centre checked off specific things they were looking for, including a fire suppression system, easy access to and from the building and offloading docks for equipment.
“This site will be invaluable in helping to balance our patient load between our traditional hospital walls and this new temporary care site,” Kravec said. “We are sharing our patient transfer operations among our local hospitals to further streamline and maximize our ability to get patients the exact level of care they need, when they need it.”
The design and build process will begin immediately with operations expected to start in two to four weeks.