Cleveland Clinic Creates New Hospital Space For COVID-19 Patients

Cleveland Clinic Health Education Center, 9501 Euclid Ave, is being converted to create space for COVID-19 patients
The Health Education Campus at 9501 Euclid Ave. is being converted to create space for COVID-19 patients. [Cleveland Clinic]
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Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University are converting their new health education campus into a 1,000 bed hospital space, to help handle the expected surge of COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Ed Sabanegh, president of the clinic’s main campus.

Clinic officials have been using scientific models to predict the number of patients that may need care and the number of hospital beds needed, said Sabanegh.

"We’ve modeled for many different scenarios and right now we think an appropriate number is about two and a half times existing capacity," he said. “These are worst case. We would be very hopeful that we are going to see far less than that.”

There is no surge right now and it is hoped all the steps that Ohioans are taking using social distancing will prevent a large surge in sick patients, he said.

Construction crews are busy this week taking out chairs and bringing in beds and oxygen tanks into the large the four-story education building west of University Circle in Fairfax.

The target date for the new overflow space to be completed is April 22.

“I’m hopeful we will see it in advance of that date, but that’s our date that we are shooting to have everything open in the facility,” said Sabanegh.

The new space will be used for the COVID-19 patients who do not require ventilators or large amounts of oxygen.

Patients who need a higher level of care and ventilators will be treated in intensive care units, according to Sabanegh.

"This allows us to expand our ICUs in our main campus facility, while providing a close location for regular nursing care for our COVID positive patients in the health education campus," he said.

The clinic has also increased its ventilator capacity, he said. Clinic CEO Tomislav Mihaljevic recently said the hospital system had 550 ventilators in its northeast Ohio facilities.

The hospital system has looked at its inventory and identified other equipment, such as anesthesia machines, that can be repurposed as ventilators to increase the numbers available for critically ill patients.

“We think we are closer to 900 that we can support. We feel that we are on track to meet whatever demand, worse case, that we would have,” said Sabenagh.

The clinic has also ordered a large number of ventilators from manufacturers, but there are shortages of those machines across the country.

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