Field hospital set up begins in Central Ohio

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Crews are working to convert part of the Greater Columbus Convention Center into a field hospital for COVID-19 patients, should the need arise. 

In photos shared by the Central Ohio Hospital Council, partitions can be seen under construction in the main exhibition hall. By the end of the week, roughly 1,000 beds are expected to be in place. 

“Right now, at the convention center, they are finishing their layout of patient cubicles,” said Dr. Robert Falcone, CEO of the Columbus Medical Association. “They’re finishing putting up patient dividers. The beds are coming in. That facility will be ready to go as a physical plant on Friday.” 

The Columbus Medical Association has led the planning of the field hospital. 

Falcone said he is hopeful that it will not need to be used based on little change in Central Ohio’s hospital capacity over the last week. 

“Our hospitals are still just a little less than half full,” he said. 

Falcone also said recent models indicate there may not be as many COVID-19 cases as first expected. 

“We are hoping we don’t need it [the convention center],” he said. “If our citizens continue to do the good job they are of social distancing, staying home, wearing masks and washing your hands, we may not need it.” 

If needed, doctors and nurses from OhioHealth, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and Mount Carmel will staff individual sections. 

The field hospital would be used to treat patients who are not sick enough to be in the regular hospital but too sick to home. 

If called upon, Falcone said the field hospital could be up and running within 72 hours. 

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