Construction completed at temporary care facility for COVID-19 patients

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Shelby County continues to grapple with new coronavirus cases a $51.3 million temporary hospital in Memphis aimed to treat COVID-19 patients is now complete.

Remnants of the former Commercial Appeal building remain nestled in the now temporary hospital for COVID-19, including things like old printing presses.

"We hope that we never have to use this building for COVID-19 overflow," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Monday.

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Long halls lined with 400 rooms fill the alternate care site the Shelby County Health Department prepared to treat patients if there is a surge in cases.

"We also know that this building can be used for other things in the future and we're proud so many came together to make this happen," Lee said.

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In just one month, the Memphis District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the overflow hospital in downtown Memphis, while the National Guard outfitted the facility with equipment.

“I'm incredibly proud of how the way this state, and this city, and this community have responded and worked together,” said Lee.

The project cost $51.3 million and was funded by the federal and state governments.

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Major General Jeff Holmes with the National Guard said, “Victory is sweetened by the difficulty of the mission and really the consequential risk of failing at that mission, that makes this mission all the more sweeter.”

The completed project is considered a battle won in the midst of an ongoing war against an invisible enemy.

The Shelby County Health Department said the hospital will be used for lower-risk COVID-19 patients.

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