The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began assessments earlier this month in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City for potential hospital space expansion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team — part of the corps’ Task Force Nevada — is made up of experts from several corps offices and is working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state of Nevada.
“Alongside FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers is performing a valuable service at this unique time,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “Their efforts will help us make decisions about how best to manage our medical resources in the coming months to beat COVID-19.”
The corps assessed the Las Vegas Convention Center, noting a potential field hospital there could hold up to 900 beds. They also conducted four smaller site assessments in Reno and Carson City.
“The goal of these assessments is to provide FEMA with options to present to the state of Nevada,” said Col. Aaron Barta, commander of the Corps’ Task Force Nevada. “We’re supporting the state’s efforts to determine how much extra capacity is needed and how best to meet that need.”
The assessors gathered a wide range of data about potential sites, from electrical and structural stability, to space available for expanded medical care.
Under the direction of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, several agencies, including the Corps, FEMA, Health and Human Services and other federal partners are working with state, local, tribal and territorial governments to execute a whole-of-government response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the public.
During emergencies, the Corps is the federal government's lead public works and engineering support agency. The organization provides technical assistance to non-Department of Defense federal agencies, state and local governments, tribal nations, private U.S. firms, international organizations and foreign governments through its international and interagency support mission.