State and Federal Agencies Working to Potentially Flip St. Louis Hotels into, "Alternative Care Sites," In Case of a Surge in COVID-19 Patients

(St. Louis, MO) A news release from FEMA announced that multiple State and Federal agencies are working together to help the State of Missouri expand medical capacity, in case of a surge in COVID-19 patients in coming days and weeks.

FEMA assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to convert hotel rooms in the St. Louis area into Alternate Care Sites (ACS). A mission assignment is a work order issued by FEMA to other Federal agencies, in this case the Corps of Engineers, to provide State, Tribal or local governments with resources to save lives, protect property, or preserve public health or safety under a disaster declaration.

The agencies involved include the Department of Health and Senior Services is working with the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Missouri Office of Administration, the Missouri Hospital Association, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Three main selection criteria are being considered for these ACS: 

  • Located in areas with potentially deficient bed counts
  • Areas with spaces large enough for patient populations
  • Areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction 

The build-out of an ACS does not guarantee that it will be utilized. Design and construction are getting underway this week.