Honolulu District conducts historic COVID-19 Alternate Care Facilities virtual technical site assessments
Honolulu District's site assessment team conducted its first-ever virtual technical site assessments May 6 and May 7 with FEMA, state of Hawaii, Department of Health and Human Services, and Hawaii County officials seeking to have the North Hawaii Community Hospital and Kona Community Hospital medical locations evaluated for potential upgrades to Alternate Care Facilities. The virtual site assessment is unique in that USACE technical engineering teams normally travel to FEMA, state and county-selected sites to conduct the assessment in person. These two virtual assessments were the first conducted by Honolulu District during the COVID-19 Pandemic response. Utilizing a Cisco WebEx live stream Honolulu District engineers were able to discuss specific requirements, refer to facility-provided blueprints and gather additional requirements via questioning with the medical and county officials on site and in real time. The videoconferencing was necessary due to the stringent social distancing and travel requirements implemented by the state of Hawaii to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that precludes the team from conducting some on-site assessments. Continued emphasis by state officials on minimizing interisland travel, maintaining social distancing and restrictions on gatherings made the virtual meeting a time-effective option to complete the FEMA and Hawaii County-directed mission assignment.