Gov. pauses plan to turn Richmond Convention Center into makeshift hospital

Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 13, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam revealed Monday that he has paused construction of the so-called additional care facilities, buildings like the Richmond Convention Center, that could be turned into makeshift hospitals to relieve pressure off real hospitals should there be a surge of COVID-19 patients.

"We are in contact with our CEOs from our hospitals on a daily basis. We have a number of options that are on the table to include expanding our capacity within the walls or confines of a current hospital," Northam said. "We have options of working with our National Guard where we would put up MASH type of units, tents outside of hospitals. And then we have the option of building the three alternative sites, one in Northern Virginia, one in Richmond, and one in Hampton Roads and, and as I've said, this is a fluid situation. We have made arrangements for all of those options. But I haven't decided to move forward at this stage with the alternative care facilities."

Construction was set to start last Friday.

He said everything is ready to go to start construction should he make the decision to move ahead.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

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.