National Guard preps COVID-19 med centers in Oregon

Coronavirus

Sites in Salem, Lebanon and Warrenton being put together quickly

The Oregon National Guard is setting up a medical station at the State Fairgrounds Expo Center during the coronavirus pandemic, March 19, 2020 (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon National Guard is busily preparing the Expo Center at the Salem Fairgrounds as a medical center for patients with COVID-19.

Hundreds of beds line the floor of the Expo Center, one of 3 medical stations the National Guard is readying.

The state’s military is partnering with the Oregon Health Authority and others to prepare for the need of an overflow location. The OHA said the site will be used for patients currently in nursing home care.

“We have people ready, we have beds set up, when there are health care professions that need additional bandwidth, we have things that are already set up,” said Captain Joel Barrett of the Oregon US Army National Guard. “Basically our intent is when people have a need that we have already supplied an answer.”

Once done, this mobile site will be stocked with medication, supplies and equipment for the patients. The National Guard is taking social distancing into account and will have limited personnel on hand. They’re also being careful where they place patients.

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“We are making sure all the beds that are being set up are maintain a distance of 6 feet away from each other and that they are in pods of 10 so we can have control for whichever local nurse is going to be in charge of the pod,” Barrett said.

The National Guard expects to complete the set up by Thursday evening. They’re also working on sites in Lebanon and Warrenton that will test patients and directly care for patients who have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Oregon National Guard is setting up a medical station at the State Fairgrounds Expo Center during the coronavirus pandemic, March 19, 2020 (KOIN)

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