Construction begins to transform Detroit’s TCF Center into field hospital for COVID-19 patients

We're getting our first look at progress being made to turn the TCF Center into a field hospital.

DETROIT – Detroit is now considered to be a hotspot for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Local 4 was able to take a look inside the TCF Center where crews are working to make it into a field hospital.

“What we’re doing here -- this is an alternate care facility,” said project manager, Mike Allis.

The inside of the TCF Center will look extremely different for the next few weeks.

“We’re going to have 600 patients downstairs and 400 patients upstairs,” said chief of planning, Nick Zager.

Halls C and E of the building are being transformed into a makeshift hospital with the capacity to see at least 1,000 patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This facility is specifically for COVID-19 patients,” Allis added.

Each cubicle will allow a patient to have what they call semi-privacy. Electricity will run directly into every station.

“That’s the best we can do. We want to help as many people as we can,” Zager said.

The hope is that the TCF Center will help take some of the strain off of other hospitals in the area.

“We’re eager to help,” Allis said.

Construction should be done by April 9 or sooner.

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.