Federal agencies are working together to help the State of Missouri expand medical capacity, in case of a surge in COVID-19 patients in coming days and weeks.
At the state’s request and in an effort to be prepared, FEMA has mission assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to convert hotel rooms in the St. Louis area into Alternate Care Sites (ACS). A mission assignment is a work order issued by FEMA to other Federal agencies, in this case the Corps of Engineers, to provide State, Tribal or local governments with resources to save lives, protect property, or preserve public health or safety under a disaster declaration.
The build-out of an ACS does not guarantee that it will be utilized. Design and construction are getting underway this week.
Other potential sites across the state are also being considered. Health officials are working to determine the needs.
The Missouri National Guard has been working as part of the state’s effort to identify potential alternate care sites.
Along with the Guard, the agencies involved are the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Missouri Office of Administration, the Missouri Hospital Association, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Three main selection criteria are being considered for these ACS:
• Located in areas with potentially deficient bed counts
• Areas with spaces large enough for patient populations
• Areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction
State and federal agencies are closely monitoring the spread of the disease and can rapidly scale up – or scale down – the response in support of local hospital systems caring for patients.
For the latest updates and information on how to protect yourself, including what to do if you think you are sick, visit www.coronavirus.gov.
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