West Gym selected as COVID-19 alternative care site

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 4/8/20 4:22pm

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The West Gym in Alumni Gymnasium has been designated as a possible alternative care site for approximately 125 patients needing low-intensity care, according to an email sent to campus on Wednesday by COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams and Joshua Keniston. Beginning Friday, the New Hampshire Army National Guard will move supplies and furniture into the gym.

The email noted that opening up on-campus space will create more room for critical care patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in case of a surge in hospital patients during the pandemic.

“Everyone's hope is that our social distancing efforts are working and that this space won't be needed, but we are preparing it just in case,” Adams and Keniston wrote.

The email explained that the College has been working with representatives from the state of New Hampshire, Dartmouth’s regional Multi-Agency Coordinating Entity and DHMC in their search for possible alternative care sites.

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin told The Dartmouth on March 25 that the College, the town of Hanover, and the state and national guard were considering possible on-campus sites for COVID-19 patients showing mild symptoms to recover with medical monitoring. Griffin said both the Leverone Field House and the West Gym in Alumni Gymnasium were being considered as of last week.

Keniston and Adams’ email also reminded members of the Dartmouth community to wear cloth face coverings in public settings, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. The email added that the virus can spread between those interacting closely, regardless of whether or not those people exhibit symptoms.

Adams and Keniston said that Dartmouth has a supply of non-medical masks, which it is distributing to the employees on campus who are “providing service and interacting with people.”