Hospitals Plan For Columbus Convention Center As Coronavirus Surge Site

Mar 31, 2020

Mount Carmel Health System, Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center and Ohio Health have named the Greater Columbus Convention Center as their coronavirus "surge" site.

This plan will come into play if those hospitals use up both their typical beds and those they've transformed into treatment beds for the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr. Robert Falcone, CEO of the Columbus Medical Association, says it's unclear when that will be.

"We are predicting, as is the governor, that by the end of April, early May, we will see our peak surge," Falcone says. "Our plan is to have logistics settled by this week and be ready to stand this up within 72 hours."

The Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday reported that 585 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19, including 198 in the ICU. With testing still limited, a total of 2,199 cases are confirmed in the state, with 55 deaths attributed to the disease.

Inside the convention center, hospitals will have their own spaces as well as shared services for the three. Falcone isn't worried about the set-up, though.

"The convention center is really good at organizing big events, and this is a big event," he says.

Falcone says Central Ohio's health care systems have been planning for an event like this for 10 years.

"So we have been planning, preparing and practicing for this. We have never stood this level of response up," he says. "So yes, it is once in a lifetime."

Officials currently believe Nationwide Children's Hospital may not need such a site, but the hospital will join the others if it becomes necessary.