The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, is performing site inspections across Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia to support a nationwide FEMA mission assignment to convert existing large spaces into alternate care sites to augment COVID-19 response efforts.
Baltimore District is working closely with State, Commonwealth and District of Columbia partners on this initial planning effort. Our partners are in charge of site selection and prioritization of potential facilities that include hospitals, schools, correctional facilities and convention centers.
“We are working aggressively across all levels of government in line with our partners to assist our region and the nation in a time of crisis to the very best of our capabilities, as the federal government’s public works and engineering experts,” said Col. John Litz, Baltimore District commander.
During the site inspections, task members are assessing the facilities for: structural soundness; square footage; potential bed capacity; potential isolation space; electrical and communication capabilities; availability of back-up generators; adequate plumbing and HVAC systems; the feasibility of creating a negative-pressure environment to contain germs; safety codes; ADA compliance, and more.
Baltimore District will arm its state partners with facility capability information, so they can determine how to best proceed with each space and its potential alternate care level and use. Not all sites inspected will be used.
The State/Commonwealth/District of Columbia would work to lease the selected properties (if not already owned by them) and also work with partnering agencies to staff and supply the facilities.
In order to execute the mission, if funding is received for design/construction, Baltimore District would use a standard simplified design and contract developed by medical and construction experts from the Corps and the US Department of Health and Human Services to get the jobs done expeditiously and save lives. The states could also use these documents to execute at the state or local levels.
The Corps, nationwide, is currently working to stand up these alternate care sites in the states facing the biggest hospital space challenges like Washington and New York.