Cincinnati Dismantling Convention Center Hospital for COVID-19 Overflow Because it Wasn't Needed

“This does not change our readiness at all," said Dr. Dustin Calhoun, Medical Director for Emergency Management at UC Health

click to enlarge Dr. Dustin Calhoun, Medical Director for Emergency Management at UC Health - Photo: City of Cincinnati screengrab
Photo: City of Cincinnati screengrab
Dr. Dustin Calhoun, Medical Director for Emergency Management at UC Health

On Monday, May 4, Mayor John Cranley and other city officials gave their latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Cincinnati. In good spirits, and in celebration of the unofficial Star Wars holiday, “May the 4th Be With You,” the Mayor opened the press conference with a new “order” for Cincinnatians.

“Talk like Yoda once per day, I order you to do,” Mayor Cranley said with a laugh.

It was a lighthearted opening to a press conference that provided a critical update in the city’s response to the ongoing pandemic. As businesses in Ohio slowly began opening back up yesterday, Mayor Cranley reiterated the importance of state guidelines regarding reopening, including reduced capacity and the practice of social distancing.

Mayor Cranley also reminded citizens of the importance of wearing masks in public as the economy begins to open back up.

“We have to figure out how to live with this pandemic safely, and wearing masks is probably the most practical way to stay safe moving forward,” he said.

After an update on cases in the city — as of May 4, there are 582 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 137 hospitalizations, 29 deaths and 215 recoveries in Cincinnati — the discussion moved to alternative and overflow care centers in the city.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cincinnati, like many other cities across the country, prepared the construction of care centers that would be able to handle a spike in hospitalizations. These care centers were to be established in order to relieve pressure on existing medical facilities in the event of an influx of COVID-19 patients.

One such overflow care center was established by city health commissioners at the Duke Energy Convention Center, equipped with the proper infrastructure to accept patients. Now, Dr. Dustin Calhoun, Medical Director for Emergency Management at UC Health, says the city will be removing some of that medical infrastructure, which was put in place last month.

“This does not change our readiness at all. We will still be able to accept patients at an alternative care center if that is considered to be necessary, and we continue to do all the monitoring we have been doing up to this point,” Dr. Calhoun said during the livestreamed press conference. “It’s also extremely important to point out that the fact we are backing out some of the infrastructure at the Duke Center does not at all indicate that the community should change their practices or reduce the aggressiveness at which it is trying to fight COVID.”

“If you look at it, this is good news that we don’t need it at this time, and we can ramp it up if we do later,” Mayor Cranley said.

The alternative care facility at the convention center will still be able to accept patients if deemed necessary, ensuring a steadfast response by the City of Cincinnati in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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