Utah Prepares Alternate Care Site At Expo Center
Apr 6, 2020, 1:38 PM | Updated: 1:49 pm
SANDY, Utah — Utah now has an alternate care site inside the Mountain America Expo Center to handle possible hospital overflow during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Utah Division of Emergency Management transformed the convention center by setting up 260 beds, medical equipment, a pharmacy and a pediatric unit.
HAPPENING NOW: #Utah Division of Emergency Management readies "alternate care site" to prepare for possible hospital overflow.
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) April 6, 2020
“This has never been done in the State of Utah before — we are in extraordinary times,” said Joe Dougherty, the division’s public information officer.
If hospitals get overwhelmed, Dougherty said the beds at the expo center are intended for people needing hospital care that’s not related to COVID-19. However, if Utah’s outbreak worsens, the site could be used for coronavirus patients.
“We want to make sure we are reserving hospital capacity for those who need it the very most,” he said.
The state already owns all the beds and medical equipment. In addition, the division will add portable showers and laundry equipment so that the site can be opened immediately if needed.
“We hope to never use this facility,” Dougherty said. “This is an instance of the State of Utah being proactive and ready just in case we need to bring medical patients here.”
The state has contracted with Salt Lake County to rent the Mountain America Expo Center through mid-May.
“The whole thing that we hope Utah will get from this is that we need to maintain social distancing so that we don’t have to go to an overflow hospital,” Dougherty said. “This really would signify that we are in a very, very bad state if we ever have to use this.”
Right now hospitals are managing well, Dougherty added. But if demand requires, the convention hall has space for up to 1,000 beds.