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Army Corps Begins Work on Temporary Hospitals

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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Within the past week, multiple state governors have been in talks with the Army Corps of Engineers for plans on site for temporary hospitals to combat capacity issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker confirmed talks with the Corps late last week.

What's Happening

Cuomo announced that he has accepted the recommendation from the Corps for four temporary hospital sites in New York— the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center.

Cuomo visited each of the sites and gave the green light for construction to start immediately. Hospitals at the SUNY campus sites will reportedly be constructed indoors with outdoor tent support and the dormitories on the campuses will be used for healthcare staff to stay while working at the sites.

Antony-22, SA-CC 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Within the past week, multiple state governors have been in talks with the Army Corps of Engineers for plans on site for temporary hospitals to combat capacity issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the Javitz center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will erect four additional hospital facilities in addition to the temporary hospital that the Corps will construct on that site. Each of the four federal hospitals will have 250 beds and come fully equipped and fully staffed by the federal government, according the governor’s office.

The Governor also announced that the state is continuing to identify existing healthcare facilities that can be repurposed as temporary hospitals, such as the Brooklyn Health Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, which will serve as a temporary hospital with capacity up to 600 beds.

Similar talks are in the early states in Massachusetts, according to Boston radio station WBUR News.

Baker confirmed his Corps talks via press conference over the weekend and said that they are also looking at college dorm sites as prime spots to erect temporary facilities.

"It's dizzying how organized and structured they are, because they've done so much of this," Baker said. "Goal number one would be to basically matchmake a bunch of sites that we think might work with their folks on the ground who would then say to us, 'That one could work, that one won't, that one could work,' and then take it from there," Baker said.

"I don't expect you'll see much beyond the process of actually trying to figure out which sites might be appropriate this coming week."


Crews in China built several temporary hospitals, including nearly completing the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China, in 10 days.

Construction was led by China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corp. The building and auxiliary facilities encompass 33,900 square meters (364,896 square feet) and include space for 1,000 beds.

To build the hospital, Chinese officials took a page out of its 2003 book for reference, when 7,000 workers in Beijing constructed the Xiaotangshan hospital out of prefabricated materials to combat the Sars outbreak of that time.

Officials said that the Xiaotangshan project served as a template for the Wuhan facility, which used prefabricated pieces as the basis for the construction.

The prefabricated nature aimed to help keep cost, waste and time down on the construction, and was utilized in part because this structure didn’t necessarily need all of the normal amenities that a full hospital would have, according to James Crispino, a Principal at Gensler, who noted that the main purpose was to isolate people and added that air flow and air pressure were key components for such a structure.

During peak construction, it’s reported that more than 1,000 project managers and 5,000 workers were on site around the clock.

“Progress was measured in hours, not days” by adopting “cutting-edge prefabricated building technology that maximized the use of assembled industrial products and significantly reduced the workload of field operations,” according to a statement by China State Construction Engineering.

China’s National Development and Reform Commissions, the country’s state planning agency, reportedly invested 300 million yuan ($43.5 million) for the construction.

View all of PaintSquare Daily News' coverage on COVID-19, here.


Tagged categories: COVID-19; Government; Health & Safety; Health Care/Hospitals; NA; North America; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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