As hospitals in Italy and other hard-hit places say they've run out of space for COVID-19 patients, Cox South hospital in Springfield announced Wednesday that it's devoting an entire, new floor to patients who may need ventilator support due to the respiratory illness.
“When Cox South doubled in size five years ago, several floors of the new tower were left empty so we could develop the space as needs arose,” said Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth, in a news release. “A need in our community is now here, and we are ready to help our patients have the best chance of recovery that we can give them by developing some of that space. I pray it is never used.”
The new floor will be available April 9, after a floor of the medical center is rebuilt into ward-style areas, the release said. Officials also hope the design will help conserve PPE, or personal protective equipment, for health care staff.
Hear our interview earlier this week with Edwards here on what his hospital needs right now.
In the news release, Edwards said local contractors and subcontractors, led by JE Dunn, are prioritizing this project. He added that many are doing the work only at the cost of labor and materials, calling them "heroes to our community."