MONTEBELLO, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led a final inspection of work March 19 at Beverly Community Hospital as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s support to California in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Los Angeles and Omaha districts, along with the project contractor, converted the hospital’s west wing to provide a 17-room, non-COVID area and the hospital’s day care waiting room to a 10-bed COVID staging area by adding high-flow oxygen and converting the area to negative pressure.
Beverly is one of three hospitals in the Los Angeles area receiving additions under California’s COVID-19 major disaster declaration. White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles and Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City are the other two hospitals.
Victoria Bane, director of facilities at Beverly Community Hospital, said the recent influxes of COVID-19 patients required the hospital to invoke diversion status at the start of the 2021, meaning there were times when the hospital was unable to accept patients via ambulance. Many other area hospitals also were in the same status, a situation that put patients at risk of having no place to go because existing hospital beds were occupied.
“We were approached by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to see what they may able to do to help us out, and that’s how this project started,” Bane said.
The Los Angeles District used Omaha District’s rapid award design and construction contracts for work at these hospitals.
“I think the Corps did really well,” said Martin Reed, contracting officer’s representative with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rapid Response Technical Center of Expertise at the Omaha District. “I’m proud to be part of this organization. We react to all sorts of different emergency actions, and it’s an honor to be part of such a great organization as the Corps of Engineers.”
Those taking part in the inspection included FEMA, the California Department of Public Health, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Department of General Services, along with the Corps and its contractors.
“The purpose of the final inspection to verify that the contractor has met all the requirements of the scope of work to the level of quality that the Corps of Engineers expects,” Reed said. “It went very well. There were a few comments that were addressed in-field, but no issues.”
“Today was just a matter of everyone getting their eyes on it,” Bane added. “Everything’s coming from FEMA and the state, making sure they’re happy with the project. We’re certainly happy with it, and we can’t wait to be able to use everything.”
Bane said she predicts the hospital will be able to use the additions in the next week or two. Meanwhile, COVID patient numbers are decreasing.
“I think that’s wonderful,” Bane said. “Our numbers for COVID patients are definitely going down. … We’re hoping another surge doesn’t happen, but if it does, we’ll be ready for it this time, we won’t have to go on diversion, and we’ll be prepared to take care of all the patients.”