HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - COVID-19 positive patients in Hillsborough County, Florida can now go from the hospital to a hotel for continuing medical care. CW44's Price McKeon explains how this new project works.
This boutique hotel on Fowler Avenue is now a new COVID-19 care site. "Hillsborough County has acquired this hotel to turn it into a transitional living facility." Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Ray Hanson explains the purpose behind the county refitting the West Wing Hotel to accommodate patients recovering from a COVID-19 hospital stay. "For the main purpose of freeing up hospital bed space of patients that don't require hospital care or hospital level care in the hospital setting."
The county says the site serves patients who are eligible for discharge from the hospital but still need medical support and may not be able to go straight home from the hospital. "What the county has done to the hotel is they've upgraded the electrical system for the installation of an automatic transfer switch," said Hanson.
Hillsborough says the changes made are to accommodate specific needs of a medical facility. Hanson elaborates, "We will have a generator because, obviously COVID-19 is going to be lasting through the hurricane season. And we want to be prepared in case we have a long term power outage."
"We're really excited and very thankful for this partnership with the county," Baycare Health Systems teamed up with the county to launch this new project. "This is really allowing us to meet community needs by expanding healthcare resources above and beyond what we have in our hospitals right now." Dr. Jackie Callie says COVID-19 patients who have to be hospitalized tend to take a long time to recover. "...and they tend to have symptoms for quite a while and remain infectious, even when they're ready to be discharged from the hospital." So now there's this option where patients can receive around the clock medical care until they can check out and go home. "...and so by having this opportunity we can house them safely before they go home and could potentially expose others in the household."
According to the county, the hotel has 115 rooms. 50 of them will be used by Baycare. About a dozen rooms have been converted to support rooms which are like mini-nursing stations. Other hospitals and Hillsborough can use the remaining rooms if they need to.
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