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More than 35 facilities set to become alternative care sites for COVID-19 patients

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 3:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Coronavirus cases have continued to climb throughout Tennessee and as more patients are hospitalized, officials are considering alternative methods to house patients ahead of a possible surge. So far there have been more than 350 hospitalizations statewide.

More than 35 facilities across the state in multiple regions are set to begin the second phase of becoming alternative care sites for COVID-19 patients.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveying possible hospital sites
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveying possible hospital sites(Vance L. Harris | U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will assist in transforming the locations and are set to begin building out the sites.

Collectively these sites will produce over 3,000 beds.

Last week, Gateway Shopping Center on Jackson Avenue in Memphis was made one of the first locations to become a possible makeshift hospital.

According to Jim Pouge with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the figure for the number of care spaces for the shopping center has yet to be determined.

“A figure of 1,000 beds planned for the Gateway Shopping Center COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility in Memphis has been circulating through the press the last few days,” Pogue wrote. "In reality, the figure for patient care spaces has yet to be determined. The actual number continues to be refined to meet the State’s guidance for both acute patients and non-acute patients.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee says patients facing less serious symptoms will be assigned to these sites for treatment. Hospitals will be reserved for critical patients.

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