COVID-19 overflow treatment center completed at former Commercial Appeal building

An overflow coronavirus treatment center has been completed within the building that until recently housed the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis.

Here’s the full release from Gov. Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and a delegation of Shelby County leaders and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers service members will mark the completion of a significant project in Tennessee’s COVID-19 efforts with a joint review of the equipping and readying of the Mid-South region’s COVID-19 alternate care site at 495 Union Ave., in Memphis, Tenn.

“Our work in Shelby County represents an effective local, state, and federal partnership effort to put in place a critical need in our COVID-19 efforts,” Gov. Lee said.  “These relationships are vital as we balance and evaluate the state’s short- and long-term COVID-19 response, and tailor health care planning efforts to local needs.”

The Memphis alternate care site provides an additional 401, individual bed spaces to treat COVID-19 patients if area hospitals begin to exceed their bed capacity, and is set up with only base supplies currently, such as beds, chairs, tables, and IV poles,

Medical equipment and supplies will be put in place if the site is activated to receive and treat patients who test positive for COVID-19 and experience symptoms requiring low-acuity hospital care.

“The facility has the advantage of being located in close proximity to numerous Memphis hospitals and came with infrastructure in place that facilitated rapid and safe conversion as an alternate care site,” said Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, Tennessee Department of Health. “Our hope is we never need it; however the facility is ready and will remain on standby until TDH and Shelby County officials determine the capacity is needed to treat COVID-19 patients.”

Under a Mission Assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, USACE coordinated and managed the construction contractors during the facility’s renovation phase, and the Governor’s Unified Command Group has secured the wrap-around services for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the facility.

These wrap-around services, which will only be put in place if the site is activated, include biomedical, food, ice and water, internal and external security, internet access, janitorial, linen, medical oxygen, office supplies, pest control, pharmacy, and radiological and X-rays.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis will provide medical direction for the care of patients if the facility is occupied.

Quick Facts about the Memphis Alternate Care Site

  • The Memphis care site is located at 495 Union Ave. and occupies four floors of a five-story, 125,000 square-foot building that is the former home for The Commercial Appeal.
  • The facility can accommodate 401 patients, with 33 beds set aside for higher-acuity care, and is equipped with 22 nursing stations, and 30 storage rooms.
  • As of May 16, USACE members and 16 USACE-contracted Memphis companies had devoted more than 193,000 hours of work into renovating the facility, for an average of 275 people on-site, around-the-clock, for one month.
  • nexAir, an industrial gas equipment supplier, installed the facility’s oxygen supply system and tanks, with a main tank that will hold 6,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and a 3,000-gallon back-up tank.
  • Fifty-six service members of the Tennessee National Guard transported all of the basic supplies currently at the facility.

The award of a Major Disaster Declaration to Tennessee on April 2, 2020, made funding assistance available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the State for costs associated with implementing COVID-19 emergency protective measures, such as establishing alternate care sites to increase hospital bed capacity.

Gov. Lee established the UCG on March 23, 2020, to streamline the COVIG-19 emergency response coordination between the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Tennessee Department of Military.

19 Responses to COVID-19 overflow treatment center completed at former Commercial Appeal building

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  • I’m thinking the state dramatically overestimated the need for hospital beds. Here in Williamson we had quite a few cases but hospitals never seemed to even get the least bit stressed. If anything, more people died of other causes because they would not go to the hospital. I do wish the new over the top reaction hospital in Memphis supplanted the Commercial Squeal. It’s a real waste of trees and manpower that could be used to pick up litter or mow public right of ways

  • LeeAnn C. says:

    Wasted time and wasted money. This thing is already on the decline. In “hot spot” locations like NYC and the west coast, the hospital ships have been decommissioned, millions spent in erecting hospitals using the National guard… only to have few and sometimes ZERO patients! And, right on cue, Governor Lee mimics the actions of others instead of using reason, logic and balanced feedback of the right people. I’m sick of this fool Governor, the new chief executive DOCTOR Piercey, the Unified Command, and the Economic Recovery Group. The Governor has appointed a whole new system of governance, creating laws and spending millions. Important question for future gubernatorial elections: are you familiar with the role of the General Assembly in the governance of the state?

    • MARLE says:

      This is FEMA money so let’s fault the Trump administration in this wastefulness. Those ships didn’t sail themselves into NY Harbor and GM was nationalized to make Killing machines (aka ventilators) by the 100’s of thousands by Governors.

      • MARLE says:


      • Beatrice Shaw says:

        Agree completely. Trump has blundered his way blindly through his entire Presidency. Now, he has charged up an incredible debt and we’ve seen nothing but a $1200 stimulus check. When will more come? Who is getting all the cash while we still pay for medical care?

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Beatrice, inquiring minds would like to know the following:

          1. We were running $1 trillion a year deficit before this Chinese virus hit because liberals like you have whetted American’s appetite for more government than they are willing to pay for so when the extra spending was needed to keep the economy afloat where did you think the money was going to come from if not from “incredible debt”?

          2. Don’t you feel silly complaining about the “incredible debt” then asking regarding the stimulus “When will more come”?

          3. Did you want the $5 trillion in stimulus to all go to you and lacking that you doubt that the money has really been spent?

          4. Don’t you ever follow the news to learn about the various organizations that are receiving the federal government bailouts?

          5. You apparently want to deprive some poor person or entity of government aid so you can get free medical care, what about free food, shelter, transportation. . .anything else?

      • Eddie White says:

        Marle, Beatrice, and Obama can all agree…Trump has blundered this pandemic…

        • MARLE says:

          Fauci and Birx called for people to be wiping down their Amazon pkgs and the box of corn flakes you bring home from the grocery (among about a thousand other pieces of misinformation or half-truths). YOU don’t think that kind of messaging is a big part of how we got here? And WHO hired Fauci, gave him a stage and a microphone daily.

          He didn’t muscle his way to the podium, you know.

          • Eddie White says:

            It really doesn’t matter what Trump would have done, there were those on the far left complaining he had not done enough, and those on the far right who would complain he has gone too far. I think the majority of Americans will give the President credit for making the best decisions possible using the best advice possible in a very difficult situation.

          • MARLE says:

            Just b/c the Far Left wanted him to do Even MORE stupid things doesn’t make him blameless. HE is responsible for the shutdown, for how long it lasted, for the idiotic “White House Guidelines” for re-opening (which praise the Lord most Governors ignored). HE is responsible regardless of how much worse some Far Left administration might have gotten off the rails.

  • MARLE says:

    You got a 1200 check? Good for you.

  • Eddie White says:

    You can always join James and vote the Constitution Party in November….or of course the Libertians….

    • MARLE says:

      That’s the ultimate answer to everything isn’t it……he may be an idiot but he’s our idiot and besides the other guy is an even bigger idiot so who ya gonna hafta vote fer in Nov????

  • Eddie White says:

    Yea, I thought he was an idiot to-back during the primary. However, he has been a very effective president, unconventional, but effective. His court appointments and what he has done with the economy has been great. He has also restored some pride and respect to our foreign policy. But alas, he is not very politically correct and has offended many, especially those with affinity for New York City, DC, and LA values. So he may be a one term president and you will be able to complain about your other idiot.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Trump is more than politically incorrect which I applaud and believe we need much, much more of; he says and tweets stupid things because he is not a terribly intellectual or well informed individual. I am, however, not at all indifferent as to who should win the presidency in November. Biden is a doddering old liberal so it’s absolutely unthinkable for him to be President. It’s also unthinkable that Tennessee will do anything other than give its eleven electoral votes to Trump. Finally, if Trump loses it won’t be because of lack of money. Thus, without a conservative running for Senate in Tennessee it’s the candidacy of Timothy Hill in the First Dist. that should be the focus of attention by Tennessee conservatives.

  • Eddie White says:

    I am more interested in results than how intellectual a person is. I like it when Trump says he wants a vaccine by the end of the year, much to the chagrin of the medical elites. I smile when anyone disses Trump as stupid, he graduated from an ivy league school and is considered a billionaire. How many years have I heard my fellow conservatives whine about not wanting another politician, well you got one. He is not the southern gentleman type that I have grown up with and sometimes prefer, but I like the way he has brought America back. It has been refreshing. But the Democrats are now united and have a good chance to regain the White House and the senate. But they have no chance in that 1st District of upper East Tennessee.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I’m not worried about Democrats in the First, I am worried about another tepid conservative replacing Phil Roe (Heritage-70%), who is on the cooler side of tepid, when we have a proven conservative in Timothy Hill (ACU-88%) who is running to take his place.

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