Missouri officials are at work converting a hotel in Florissant into an overflow facility to accommodate a potential surge in coronavirus patients, Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday.
The repurposed hotel could house patients with mild cases of COVID-19 or those who have tested positive but don’t have symptoms.
It’s the first “alternate care” site chosen by state officials and the Missouri National Guard to potentially relieve the burden in places that have high rates of the disease.
“These facilities are a contingency to offset any hospital shortfalls should they occur,” said Levon Cumpton, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.
The location in Florissant is the Quality Inn, according to a spokesman for the National Guard. There is one Quality Inn in the city near the intersection of Dunn and Graham roads. A person who answered the phone at the hotel said they were not able to discuss any plans.
Parson said the state’s hospitals will likely be able to handle the number of patients sick with the coronavirus, and the alternate site is just a precaution.
The hotel would not operate as a proper hospital but would be a place for nurses and physicians to observe patients who could develop symptoms or those who are recovering from hospital stays, said Dave Dillon, spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association.
The Missouri National Guard is scouting for other hotels throughout the state to serve as alternate sites if hospitals become strained.
Other states such as New York have repurposed sports arenas as makeshift hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.
Hotels make sense in Missouri, according to the director of Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet. Todd Richardson said many residents don’t live close to a large city with stadiums at the ready.
“It will allow the state to move more quickly. It’s a model that can be scaled as need arises, and it’s a model that can be used to support care delivery across our state,” Richardson said.
Officials expect the site in north St. Louis County to be ready for patients by next week.
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