Work starting on state’s first alternative health care site

CLAIRE COLBY, Missouri News Network
Missouri National Guard troops have started work on Missouri’s first alternative health care facility to help respond to an influx of COVID-19 patients.
"We know there is an increasing concern over hospital bed space equipment and alternative care sites," Gov. Mike Parson said in his Wednesday afternoon press conference.


As of Wednesday, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services reported 3,327 confirmed cases and 58 deaths from COVID-19.
 "We continue to communicate with medical experts, hospitals across the state, review the data and keep track of bed spaces and equipment," Parson said. "And right now, Missouri is in a good place."
The facility is being built in a converted hotel in Florissant, in Saint Louis County. Construction should begin this weekend. The hotel will provide more than 100 additional hospital beds, Missouri National Guard Gen. Levon Cumpton said. The facility will have the potential to start accepting patients as early as next week.
"We're taking firm and decisive action to confront this virus," Cumpton said.
Across the state, Missouri's Department of Public Safety is continuing to order and provide personal protective equipment to first responders. Department director Sandy Karsten said that Missouri received a shipment of 1 million masks Wednesday. About 24,000 masks were sent to local law enforcement agencies and fire departments.
As Missouri reaches the third day of the statewide stay at home order, Parson stressed personal responsibility as the primary means of enforcing the order.
"People in Missouri will take the responsibility upon themselves to stay home, which they have," he said. "And they will continue to do that. And I think we're going to get better and better at that every day."
Parson also said that it should be up to individual employers and business owners to determine whether or not to require employees and customers to wear masks.
"I don't think that's the state's place to mandate who wears masks and who don’t at this point," he said.

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