Overflow COVID-19 hospital setup continues at Columbus convention center


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Several city and county leaders toured the field hospital set up in the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Monday.

The facility contains the bedding and equipment to treat roughly 1,000 COVID-19 patients, if necessary.

“It’s a wonderful facility,” said Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady. “They’ve done a great job.”

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners had previously agreed to pay up to $5 million for the operational costs of the field hospital. After the tour, O’Grady said he has no regrets with that decision, in light of a possible surge.

“There’s no question, you’ve got to be ready for this,” he said. “We can’t be left holding the bag if this happens. We’ve got to be ready.”

According to Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts, central Ohio’s hospitals remain half full.

“Right now, I’m proud to say that our hospitals are doing well in terms of capacity,” she said. “They still have plenty of capacity at their facilities.”

Roberts called the setup at the convention center “impressive,” while also saying she hopes the field hospital is not needed.

“This facility will only be utilized if the hospitals run out of capacity, so I’m feeling good, but we can’t let our foot off the gas,” she said. “We have to be prepared and I’d rather have this ready if we need it than to be running and shuffling to get something together for the health and safety of our community.”

Health leaders said the field hospital would be used to treat COVID-19 patients who are too sick to go home, but not sick enough to be in the regular hospital. 

It will be staffed by doctors and nurses from OhioHealth, Mount Carmel and Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way folks have come together,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, of the field hospital’s setup. “Sometimes people think of the health systems being in very fierce competition with each other generally, but in a time of crisis, it’s a great way for us to see the Columbus way, right in front of our eyes.”

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