CMC & Elliot Hospital Setup Flex Area at SNHU

Facility would only be activated if needed

Published 3/24/2020

Published by WMUR:

As the state prepares for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients a new facility for less serious cases is set to open.

The National Guard set up a 250-bed treatment site, which is split into two rooms—one to treat COVID-19 patients and one to treat non-COVID-19 patients, inside Southern New Hampshire University's field house. The flex area was created with the coordination of Gov. Chris Sununu, SNHU, hospitals and city leaders.

"This is what we do. We do this overseas quite often—standup sites—and get them going and get the logistics right," Col. Erik Fessenden, of the New Hampshire National Guard, said.

It's one of at least seven similar facilities being built in the state. Sununu said the flex areas will allow medical workers to be ready to handle an uptick in patients and will only be used if needed.

"This is not plan A. It's not plan B. It's more like plan C," Alex Walker, of Catholic Medical Center, said. "The local community has come together to do some really proactive planning for what might be down the road.

In the event that the facilities are activated, Catholic Medical Center and Elliot Hospital would oversee operations at SNHU, where people who are almost ready to be discharged would be separated into two rooms: one for COVID-19 patients and one for others.

"We've engaged Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, because they obviously have a very large ambulatory practice, the VA -- so we're really looking at what can we do with all of our available resources, both within the hospital, our ambulatory practices and our partners in the community to come together and be able to staff this," said Tim Soucy, CMC executive director of community health.

Another location is being set up at Nashua High School South. Sununu said he's also talking to the University of New Hampshire and other schools about the possibility of setting up more sites.

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