TAMPA – Tampa General Hospital is establishing a new infectious disease center to treat patients with COVID-19.
The hospital is renovating an existing building to create an intensive care unit with 59 beds and up to 45 so-called “emergency response” beds dedicated to the treatment of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Hillsborough County is expected to contribute up to $ 4.5 million in federal dollars under the CARES Act to cover half of the costs of construction and equipment. The project has an estimated price of $ 8.2 million. The renovations will be the medical center’s old rehab hospital in a county-owned building leased to Tampa General.
“It’s not going anywhere. It looks like COVID is here to stay, “Commission Chairman Les Miller Jr. said Monday” I don’t know if that means forever, or it’s going to take two, three, four, five years. That being the case… it is important that these extra beds (intensive care unit) are available, ”especially as the flu season approaches, he said.
An added benefit will be the county’s ability to have its frontline workers tested for cornavirus, Miller said. As part of the deal, the hospital will provide up to 500 coronavirus tests per week to employees in Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office for the next three years and will purchase two mobile test units.
The plan received support from the medical community facing the pandemic.
“It is clear that COVID-19 will affect our community for years to come. The Center for Infectious Diseases’ new initiative started as part of the emergency response to the pandemic, but will now be part of (the hospital’s) long-term strategy to keep the Tampa Bay area safe According to a letter to the county from Drs. Charles Lockwood, dean of the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida and Kami Kim, director of the division of infectious diseases and internal medicine at the school of medicine.
The 1,006-bed non-profit Tampa General Hospital is the primary teaching hospital at Morsani College of Medicine.
Dr Douglas Holt, director of the Hillsborough County State Department of Health, compared the new center to the hospital’s burn treatment unit which provides a regional resource.
“This is an extremely valuable public health asset,” Holt said in a letter to Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise.
Hillsborough County Commissioners will be asked to authorize the spending of the CARES Act on Wednesday. The contract includes $ 3,257,514 for the renovation of four floors of the annex. Payments for equipment and technology expenses are capped at $ 1,246,643.
More than 2,000 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Hillsborough County since March 1. State Department of Health data released Monday showed more than 45,500 cases and 756 deaths in Hillsborough since the start of the pandemic.
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