OKC VA creates mobile ICU unit to combat growing COVID-19 concerns

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City VA Hospital is worried about a surge in patients, so now they’re adding a mobile ICU unit to their campus.

Already, the center has treated over 200 patients with COVID 19. 12 of them have died.

“We love taking care of our veterans, we are excited to be able to treat of more of them,” said Jeff Bennett.

The Assistant Director of the OKC VA says that FORTS, a modular medical care facility, is going up right now in the parking lot of the OKC VA hospital.

“It has all the bells and whistles of a brick and mortar hospital,” said Paul Kim of VAHA Emergency Management.

The mobile med-center was originally designed for use in natural disaster like hurricanes.

It has already been used during the pandemic in Chicago and Orlando.

With 40 COVID-positive patients currently at the OKC VA, the extra space is critical.

“We have maintained a steadily high census throughout the pandemic and the national office has been monitoring our situation, and made the call to deploy this unit to our facility so we can care for even more veterans,” said Bennett.

The 250 foot-long facility takes 3 days to set up and 15 semi-trucks to transport. It comes complete with all the power and technology needed to treat the sick.

“It’s fully deployable. It makes its own water, it makes its own oxygen,” said Kim.

With negative pressure equipment, it could be used for coronavirus patients but officials say it will be used for non COVID cases.

They say FORTS can also be used to fulfill the VA’s fourth mission: to care for the surrounding community in times of crisis.

“This unit will provide us with additional capacity in case the community is in need,” said Bennett.

Officials say the mobile med-center will be up and running on Wednesday.

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