Detroit's TCF Center becomes TCF Regional Care Center to treat COVID-19 patients

Michigan's first makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients is officially open and ready to help up to 1,000 people if needed.

Ambulances brought the first 25 COVID-19 patients from hospitals in Southeast Michigan to TCF Regional Care Center. The patients are all in need of hospitalization but for ICU or even a ventilator. Mayor Mike Duggan says this will relieve overcrowded hospitals of some of the pressure.

"The hospitals are carrying 200-250 more people, as a whole, than they're comfortable carrying. We need to offload to the TCF Center," Duggan said Friday.

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In newly-released photos, the finished field hospital is set up for 1,000 patients, all with their own semi-private room. It will be staffed by employees from Henry Ford, McLaren, Beaumont, and Detroit Medical Center.

According to Lt. Col Gregory Turner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the center in just a few days and was able to get creative to get the necessary equipment set up.

"A lot of these patients are oxygen-dependent and having enough O2 tanks...of any requirement was a huge challenge. Working with the TCF Center, we were able to actually pipe in oxygen just like it was a hospital with an outlet on the wall you can plug into to get oxygen," Turner said.

With help from the National Guard, the field hospital was built and complete in just nine days. Turner said this was a first and will prove to be an example for the rest of the country.

"I really expect that the TCF Center will be a beacon of hope for not just Detroit but the nation," Turner said. "The TCF Center is really the first place to be fully turned over to medical providers to open up and relieve some of the pressures on the hospitals in Detroit which have been so hard hit."