The Department of Defense is canvassing Florida for potential contractors and locations to set up emergency mobile hospitals to treat coronavirus patients across the state, according to a contract notice posted by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Army is helping the state in case it needs to quickly build out more surge capacity at its hospitals as Covid-19 cases continue to rise, seeking contractors who can build temporary facilities with 10 days notice. The state doesn’t know how many facilities will be needed or where, but officials want to get an idea of how quickly they could build out surge hospital capacity, just in case, according to the notice.
The state is putting out a blanket call “to solicit and purchase any number of these facilities needed necessary to meet the State’s need,” according to the notice that was posted online Tuesday.
“Since Covid has come about, we’ve been working with emergency management departments across the country just to make sure they have the resources they need to respond,” John Campbell, an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman in Jacksonville, Florida, told CNBC. Campbell deferred all questions about the potential need for more hospital capacity to the state of Florida.
He added that the Army Corps of Engineers helped outfit the field hospital at the Miami Beach Convention Center in April. The corps has previously been called on to build field hospitals and surge capacity units in other hard-hit parts of the country, including New York City.
“We have been asked to see what capabilities are out there in the event that we do need more capacity,” Campbell said in an interview.
The notice comes as Florida battles one of the most rapidly growing coronavirus outbreaks in the world. As of Thursday, there were 9,422 people hospitalized across the state, and that number’s growing, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic.