PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been evaluating empty Valley hospitals to see if they can be reopened to serve patients with COVID-19. On Friday, a team of engineers and health professionals were taking measurements and looking at available equipment and utilities at Scottsdale Liberty Hospital. The facility was a specialized surgery hospital until it closed its doors last fall. Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the recently-closed St. Luke's Hospital in Phoenix.
"None of them will require construction. In fact, that's probably the beauty of it," says U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Dave Palmer. "So, it's just getting them back online."
The Arizona Department of Health Services has said, worst-case scenario, they will need 13,000 extra hospital beds to care for a growing number of COVID-19 patients. Dr. Steven Siwek says he offered up the Scottsdale Liberty space to health officials seeking ways to alleviate an expected bed shortage.
"Downstairs there's also a radiology space and a lab as well," says Siwek. "Upstairs, however, the crux of the upstairs, has been two large operating rooms," said Siwek.
Siwek says there are 13 patients rooms upstairs, each made for two beds. Health officials are considering fitting in more beds while maintaining space for ventilators when needed.
Palmer says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will now draft a report outlining potential hospital capacity and send it to Federal Emergency Management Agency. From there, federal and state officials will determine the next steps.