DETROIT – The TCF Center in Downtown Detroit has been turned into an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced Friday that construction is complete at the convention center. It’s one of the first such sites in the nation to be turned over to the state. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Thursday he anticipates about 250 patients will be placed at the TCF Center.
The first 25 patients will arrive Friday.
Construction included a triage area, patient support services such as showers and toilets, staff changing areas and administrative space, a command center and pharmacy. The 350,000-square-foot conversion of the convention center into a medical facility with 970 bed spaces across two floors for COVID-19 patients took nine days, according to the USACE.
The facility will be supported by staff and resources from Henry Ford Health System, McLaren Health Care, Beaumont Health and the Detroit Medical Center. The TCF Center will not accept patients by ambulance or walk-up, and it will not have an intensive care unit area or provide care to patients who need ventilation.
“I’m proud that the team was able to complete this mission and get help to the doctors and nurses on the front lines so quickly,” reads a statement from Lt. Col. Gregory Turner, commander, USACE, Detroit District. “With this facility coming on line as supplies and staff pour into Michigan, I really expect that the TCF Center will be a beacon of hope for Detroit and the Nation.”
The design required a manifold system that put copper pipes in the ceiling to deliver oxygen into 600 patient bed spaces in Hall C of the TCF Center. Both Halls C and E were converted into a negative pressure area, essentially creating a vacuum in the space that will exhaust any possible airborne contamination, according to the USACE.
They will now go to work in Novi, Mich. where the Suburban Collection Showplace convention center will be converted into an alternate care facility with 1,100 beds. Construction of that facility is expected to be completed by April 20, 2020.