The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to convert hotels and other facilities into makeshift hospitals to help fight a “significant deficit of hospital beds” all across the United States, the Corps’ commander, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, said Friday.
“We said there is no way we can build hospitals in three weeks,” Semonite said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” adding the idea to convert already-existing buildings into hospital bed spaces came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had a massive shortage.
“We said we have got to take an existing facility with a standard design, let the HHS guys, let the FEMA guys, let all the docs take a look at it and once we have that, we are going to make four different options of how to apply that standard design either into a hotel or a dormitory or into a stadium or like a field house,” said Semonite.
The Corps also is working to convert stadiums and convention centers, including being in the process of turning New York City’s Javits Center into a 2,900-room patient facility.
“You take an existing hospital like a FEMA hospital, you bring it in to one of these existing structures, and, here is the power of the idea is that you have already got everything to code,” said Semonite. “You have got electricity, you have got fire, you have got water, you have got parking lots, (and) you have got the entire (surrounding area, and can do this in a convention center and any type of a big open facility.”
He urged people to call their mayors or FEMA and report they have an available facility. “Whatever we can do to be able to help out, we can work that,” Semonite said. “We can’t go for the perfect solution. We have got about two to three weeks to really turn the corner. We need a good enough solution done now and executed ruthlessly.”