Temple University's Liacouras Center transformed into medical surge facility

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- What's typically a basketball court, a concert venue, or an auditorium to hold graduations is now filled with rows and rows of hospital beds.

Temple University donated the use of the Liacouras Center to the City of Philadelphia for free in its fight to treat COVID-19.

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Over the weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers brought in 200 hospital beds and other equipment to potentially treat overflow patients from hospitals as the city braces for a potential surge because of the virus.

"We're really setting this up so we can adapt to that situation when it arises," said Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel.

Whether or not coronavirus patients would be treated at the Liacouras Center is still up in the air.

"A disaster of this magnitude, an event of this magnitude, is not something that any one agency or organization or city can handle on its own," said Thiel.

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That's why the city says it still needs more help. The site is being locally executed, meaning it needs people in the city to run it.

Part of the staff could come from the fire department and PEMA, but the task force is hoping volunteers join the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps and work here.

"We're seeking as many volunteers as we could possibly get," said Thiel.

The city says it also needs more medical supplies for this site, specifically ventilators.

When asked if the site has any personal protective equipment, the mayor's office said it will be stocked if it opens and also said the city is still asking for donations of PPE.

While setting up the site, FEMA did bring in equipment over the weekend, and the task force says it's in line to get more help from the federal government.

"Keeping in mind that all of those are extremely limited across the nation. We know there are supply and staff shortages across the nation and we also know as it stands right now, we are in a better situation than some of our peers," said Thiel.
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