Coronavirus: Richmond's old Ford plant to be turned into temporary 250-bed hospital amid COVID-19 crisis

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Over the decades this floor inside the Craneway Pavilion bore the weight of everything from roadsters to jeeps to Sherman tanks.

Now workmen are preparing it to bear the weight of hospital beds.

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"Contra Costa County has been working with our state and federal partners to turn this Craneway into a 250-bed federal medical center," according to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia.
It's called the Craneway Pavilion because massive cranes used to carry partially assembled Fords down the assembly line. During World War 2 they did the same for tanks. In recent years it has been used as a meeting center.

Now the building is one of several being readied to handle an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases in the county.

"We are working to double hospital capacity in Contra Costa from 1,100 beds to 2,200 beds and some alternate care sites including this one here at Craneway" said Gioia.

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That's why National Guard Troops spent the Thursday unloading beds and other supplies from moving trucks and assembling them inside. The makeshift hospital will only be activated if regular medical centers are overwhelmed with patients.
Even then it will care for non-life threatening cases to free up acute-care beds for the most seriously ill patients.

Ajit Dhillon is the property manager for the building and a medical doctor.

"It's a giant space and it has all of the capable infrastructures to support something like this without the need of setting up tents or other makeshift operations," Dhillon said.

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He says the spot is also isolated, surrounded on three sides by water. If the site is activated two things are certain: recovering patients will have stunning views of the bay and San Francisco, and it won't be cheap.

"The county will be spending tens of millions of dollars over the next couple of months to respond to and prepare our county from a public health standpoint," said Gioia.

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