RICHMOND, Va. -- With the spread of coronavirus forecast to surge in Virginia in the next two months, facilities across the state are being assessed for potential use as temporary hospitals, with several options apparent in the Richmond region.
Hotels, arenas and open spaces are among the types of sites that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assessing the suitability of for potential healthcare use as part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to USACE’s Norfolk District office, which covers the Richmond region.
In his daily briefing Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam said USACE and state officials had identified 41 sites across Virginia that could serve as field hospitals, including the Hampton Roads Convention Center, an Exxon Mobil facility in Fairfax and an unspecified site in the Richmond area. More details on sites were to be announced in subsequent briefings this week.
While no specific locations for such alternate care sites, as they are called, have been announced for Richmond as of yet, the region presents several possible contenders.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.