How the US Army Corps of Engineers is converting hotels and dorms to hospitals

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is aiding in the fight against coronavirus by converting hotels and other large facilities into makeshift hospitals, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite said Friday.

Appearing on "Fox & Friends" with host Brian Kilmeade, Semonite said that the idea came a little more than a week ago after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there would be a massive shortage of capability in the Empire State.


"We knew we had a significant deficit of hospital beds," he explained. "So, we said there is no way we can build hospitals in three weeks. We said we have got to take an existing facility with a standard design, let the HHS guys, let the FEMA guys, let all the docs take a look at it and once we have that, we are going to make four different options of how to apply that standard design either into a hotel or a dormitory or into a stadium or like a field house."

Semonite said that because hotels are empty all over the United States right now, there are a lot of places to potentially put COVID-19 patients.

However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would need help from hotel chains and other vendors to access these facilities.

"We would go into the hotel and lease a hotel for three months. The state would do it," he continued. "We would make those modifications and just think of all those rooms that would be relieved."

Another plan is to utilize stadiums and convention centers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is already in the process of converting New York City's Javits Center into a hospital with 2,900 rooms for patients.

"You take an existing hospital like a FEMA hospital, you bring it into one of these existing structures, and, Brian, here is the power of the idea is that you have already got everything to code. You have got electricity, you have got fire, you have got water, you have got parking lots, [and] you have got the entire [surrounding area]," Semonite remarked. "And, we can do this in a convention center and any type of a big open facility."

Semonite told Kilmeade the best way for people to assist in their efforts is by getting on the phone and making "something happen."


"Call up your mayor. Call up your FEMA director. Say you have an available facility," he advised. "Whether it's the Corps of Engineers — whatever we can do to be able to help out, we can work that."

"And, the last thing is we can't go for the perfect solution," Semonite concluded. "We have got about two to three weeks to really turn the corner. We need a good enough solution done now and executed ruthlessly."