Alternate healthcare sites anticipated in Milford, Wilmington

SMYRNA — From vacant hotels to the former Milford Memorial Hospital, Delaware officials are looking at buildings that can be hospitals when a surge in patients hits the state.

Potential sites for makeshift hospitals include the old Milford Memorial Hospital at 21 W. Clark Avenue and a building at Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, according to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.

The Wilmington and Milford locations would be utilized for non-coronavirus patients “in order to reduce medical surge on hospitals and to allow them to focus on the most critically ill patients,” DEMA spokesman Jeff Sands said.

“All options are on the table and we will continue to do what is necessary to support the citizens of Delaware and our health care systems.”

Mr. Sands said “there have been discussions of using Governor Bacon Health Center (in Delaware City) as well as discussions about using vacant hotels. What is actually used will depend on surge.”

That surge depends on the number of patients requiring hospitalization and critical care due to the coronavirus. As of Monday, 46 people were hospitalized and 264 had the virus in Delaware.

The plans, Mr. Sands said, are fluid and depend on how the virus spreads in Delaware.

“We are constantly monitoring the health care system and evaluating the needs,” he said.

DEMA, along with the Army Corps of Engineers and Delaware National Guard surveyed possible sites last weekend and Mr. Sands said “As the situation is ever-changing, so too is our response.

“When they will be opened and where will depend on a number of factors but we are prepared to open these sites as needed. So for example, if hospitals in New Castle County are facing a surge, then a facility may be opened there.

“And likewise throughout the state.”

Other sites visited included 76ers Fieldhouse and Chase Center on the Wilmington Riverfront, University of Delaware Fieldhouse in Newark, Modern Maturity Center and Kent County Recreation Center in Dover, old Delaware State Police Troop 7 in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.

The Army Corps of Engineers will generate site plans for each of the locations, Mr. Sands said.

“There are multiple options available and we are working closely with the National Guard and our health care systems to open theses facilities as they are needed,” he said.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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