Army Corps of Engineers finish retrofitting COVID-19 facilities ahead of schedule | KOB 4

Army Corps of Engineers finish retrofitting COVID-19 facilities ahead of schedule

Megan Abundis
Updated: April 21, 2020 10:50 PM
Created: April 21, 2020 10:05 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Albuquerque District have completed two of their big projects ahead of schedule. They USACE was tasked with retrofitting buildings to house COVID-19 patients once they no longer need ICU care. 

Gallup’s Miyamura High School gym was transformed into individual medical spaces and the school’s snack bar into a pharmacy. Oxygen lines were installed for patients that extend from the floor to ceiling.  

The Gibson Medical Center in Albuquerque was also brought up to medical standards.

The New Mexico Department of Health will move in inventory, furniture, equipment and staff. NMDOH expects to have them both up and running before the end of the month.  

The USACE has begun similar projects to help out the Navajo Nation. They first met with President Nez and his office on April 1. 

“We knew Navajo Nation would need some support, so we wanted to be proactive in meeting with leadership and starting the process,” said a spokesperson for USACE. “We conducted our first site assessment for possible alternate care sites on April 6. We conducted 10 total site assessments for Navajo Nation.”

Two new alternate care sites have broken ground. The first site is in Chinle—a 50 bed facility at the Chinle community center. The second is a 40-bed facility at the Atsa Biyaazh school in Shiprock.

The facilities are expected to be completed by May 1. 

“The US Army Corps of Engineers is dedicated to use our expertise and capabilities to assist President Nez and the entire Navajo Nation in developing Alternate Care Facilities to reduce the impact of COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Robin Scott, deputy commander of the Army Corps of Engineers-Albuquerque District.  “President Nez has shown tremendous leadership and we are eager to support the Navajo Nation, working with FEMA, as fast as possible.”

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