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Tucson Convention Center possible alternative care site for COVID-19 patients

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A new deal is in the works to have the Tucson Convention Center turn into an alternative care site for COVID-19 patients should Arizona hospitals run out of room.

On Tuesday, Tucson Mayor and Council voted unanimously to have City Attorney Mike Rankin work to put a deal in place to make TCC available should the state need it.

"The idea being that these would be care sites for low acuity COVID-19 patients," Rankin said. "So we're not talking about ICU level or folks on ventilators etc. But folks that still need monitoring and care but the idea is to free up hospital space."

Next Tuesday, Rio Nuevo, who owns the TCC, is set to vote on the matter during their board meeting.

"Right now, what we have in place is up to 250 beds in the exhibition areas and the state will now be able to look at the hospital capacity around the region," Steve Kozachik Ward 6 Councilman said. "At some point, pull a trigger on saying we're over the edge and we need to use the TCC as an alternative care facility."

If there becomes a need, the Army Corps of Engineers would be able to set up the facility at the TCC. The state would provide staffing.

"My office is part of the conversation as well," Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said. "It is the responsibility of the governor to contact the mayor's office as well as the Pima County Health Department."

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Denelle Confair

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