Convention Center field hospital remains ready if needed

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the state, the field hospital inside the Greater Columbus Convention Center remains in tact.

The 1,000-bed alternative care site was constructed in Apri. It will be used if the region sees a spike in COVID-19 cases, which causes the region’s adult hospitals to meet or exceed capacity.

“Hospitals right now are operating under normal capacity,” said Jeff Klingler, President of the Central Ohio Hospital Council.

Klingler, whose organization helped plan the field hospital, said some of the site’s equipment that was leased was returned to save money, but it can be quickly brought back if needed.

The beds, sinks, hot water tanks and electrical boxes are all still in place in the convention center’s large exhibition hall.

“It’s important to remember that we’ve said all along that we hope that that facility will never be needed and that continues to be our position today,” Klinger said. “We hope we will never need to open up the convention center, but we still think that having that facility ready to go as a contingency is just prudent for the community.”

Klingler said the alternative care site will remain in place at least through Labor Day. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners agreed to contribute $5-million to the field hospital project. A spokesperson for the commissioners said that money has been reimbursed with federal funds.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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