Detroit TCF Center field hospital shuts down but will be ready if needed

When the COVID-19 crisis peaked in Detroit a field hospital was created at the TCF Center for less severe patients to take pressure off metro Detroit hospitals dealing with more dire cases.

That need, for now at least, is over and the field hospital is ceasing operations. 

"As the influx of patients did not peak like we expected it, the state started looking at it saying what can we do for cost containment and to save taxpayers some money," said Col. Leo Burke, Civil Air Patrol Incident Cmdr.

Volunteers make up the Civil Air Patrol which is part of The United States Air Force. These volunteers were initially brought in to help manage the staff at the field hospital but theses volunteers are now helping it enter its new phase 

"The Civil Air Patrol had a team of people in here that started planning the demobilization process," Burke said. "We discharged our last patient nine days ago. We had to wait for the environment to be safe for us to be able to go in and clean it up. We've put it in the make safe category."

It doesn't mean this makeshift hospital is shutting down instead it's on guard. Members of the Civil Air Patrol say they are leaving on Friday but this facility can be up and running quickly if need be.

"All the linens are changed out, all the supplies are set up so that with about a 48 hour notice we can repopulate this facility with doctors, nurses and medical staff," he said.

The efforts of the Civil Air Patrol volunteers also an added bonus as the volunteers help the state preserve its finances while responding to the crisis. 

"They brought us in not knowing we were essentially a cost-free asset for them, but they really brought us in for the skills," Burke said. "Over the month and a half since this facility has been up and running, we've had over thousand people staffing here on various levels."