The Army Corps of Engineers is looking at hundreds of sites all over the country to determine what can be transformed to alleviate the growing bed shortages that are coming along with the spread of coronavirus nationwide, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the Corps’ commanding general and chief of engineers, said Wednesday.
“I think it’s important to let you know the scale of what we are talking about,” Semonite said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “When I talked to (Fox News’) Brian (Kilmeade) on Friday morning in New York City, we had 114 requests. Yesterday we had 501. Today we have got 620 different requests from cities and mayors to come back in and look at my facility.”
And, he added, there is no time to “say no.”
“All we need to do is try to say here is when we can turn in seven to ten days,” he said. “This is not a three- or four-week build…everybody wants a perfect solution. This is to be able to determine what’s mission essential and make it happen.”
The Corps may build some of the facilities out, and in others, “we actually did a design and we passed them back to the states,” he said. “When we talk about some of the other ones coming up, it goes back to we might build it, someone else might do it.”
Last week, the Corps’ focus was on New York, but now it’s moving attention to Chicago and Detroit, as well as other locations where the disease’s curve is continuing to climb, said Semonite.
In Chicago, the hospitals being turned around are MetroSouth Medical Center and Advocate Sherman, both of which had been replaced by new hospitals.
And while facilities that were built up in New York were for non-COVID-19 patients, in Chicago, all three facilities are “all COVID,” said Semonite.