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University Hospitals Opens Alternate Care Facility At Ashtabula School

A gymnasium inside Saint John School in Ashtabula has been converted into a space to treat patients in case local hospitals reach capacity due to COVID-19. [University Hospitals]
A gymnasium inside Saint John School in Ashtabula has been converted into a space to treat patients in case local hospitals reach capacity due to COVID-19.

Updated Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 10:20pm

Ashtabula County now has an alternate care center in case of a surge in COVID-19 patients in the region, which will be run by University Hospitals. It will not house COVID-19 patients directly. 

The site has been set up in case hospitals such as UH Conneaut and Geneva Medical Centers reach capacity, said Director of UH Community Hospitals East Region Steven Jones.

“Our hope is not to use it,” he said. “But we want to be prepared in case volumes exceed the capacity in our community.”

The site is located inside a gymnasium at Saint John School in Ashtabula. UH staff members and local EMS workers transformed the gym with 50 hospital beds and medical supplies.

Jones said the location was picked because it has sufficient space, parking and access to showers and bathrooms.

“It’s not something that we need right now, but it’s just from an emergency preparedness standpoint, (you) want be prepared in case things turn south,” he said.

President of Saint John School Sister Maureen Burke said she was approached at the end of March by a member of Ashtabula’s emergency management agency about using the location.

“There’s certainly some concern about what does this mean for school and for ongoing future,” she said. “That being said, I don’t think as a school, or certainly as a Catholic school, that we could turn our backs to the needs of the community.”

Jones said the center is not limited to UH patients and would accept individuals from any hospital in the area.

UH hospitals in the region are not experiencing high volumes of patients at this time, he said.

In Cleveland, the new Health Education Campus has been identified as a COVID-19 patient surge location. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the alternate care center would house COVID-19 patients. 

anna.huntsman@ideastream.org | 216-916-6058