Dr Joseph Webb, CEO of Nashville General Hospital, speaking at an the unveiling of two emergency COVID-19 wards on Friday June 5. “Nashville General Hospital has been providing care for this community for 130 years. That’s a long time. From Spanish Flu in 1918 to the current COVID-19 pandemic today. As the city’s original hospital, Nashville General is committed to providing equitable access to excellent clinical care to all of our patients.”

NASHVILLE, TN–Governor Bill Lee, Mayor John Cooper, and several dignitaries celebrated the completion of two standby coronavirus wards at Nashville General Hospital (NGH) last week.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) paid for the conversion of 26,292 square-feet of unused space into an alternative care site in the event local hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients. The units have a combined total of 67 beds spaces.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed the $7.2 million project. Turner Construction used hundreds of small contractors who worked non-stop to finish the stand-by facility in 24 days.

“This is a hospital within a hospital. It’s the only facility of this kind of the 37 alternative care sites across the country built by National Guard for states this is the only one where there is acute care for COVID-19 patients but should they fall into a need of greater care they can go right downstairs. That’s a great model and it’s a sustainable model,” Lee said.

If it is activated, Nashville General will provide the care of COVID-19 patients in the negative pressure wards. NGH will provide wrap around services including biomedical, nutrition, security, internet access, janitorial, linen, medical oxygen, office supplies, pharmacy, and radiology. The Governor’s Unified Command Group has leased the alternative care wards with FEMA money.

“We don’t know what Public Health crises may befall the community in the future. But one thing is for sure: Nashville General is committed to prevention, treatment, and disease management and that is unwavering. We’re Nashville community hospital and we’re here to stay,” said Dr. Joseph Webb, CEO of Nashville General Hospital.

There is another alternative care facility in Memphis. It is located on four floors of the old Commercial Appeal building. It can accommodate 401 patients, with 33 beds set aside for higher-acuity care, and is equipped with 22 nursing stations, and 30 storage rooms, and piped oxygen.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis will provide medical care of patients if the facility is occupied. Wrap-around services like linen, pharmacy, and X-rays will be put in place if the site is activated.