FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii --
By Dino W. Buchanan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District Public Affairs
In response to the spread of coronavirus in Honolulu, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Honolulu District technical survey team conducted two initial planning and site assessments this week for possible conversion into Alternate Care Facilities (ACFs).
On Monday, the team surveyed the 204,000 sq. ft. Kamehameha Room in the Hawaii Convention Center and the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, including the 65,000 sq. ft. exhibition hall, on Wednesday. On Friday, the USACE site assessment team will be surveying additional sites on Maui.
“Our District and engineering assessment team is proactively engaged to provide engineering solutions for the state, city and local communities in response to the challenge imposed on our nation’s healthcare network by the coronavirus,” said Lt. Col. Kathryn Sanborn, Honolulu District commander. “At the request of the state we will be conducting additional site assessments in the coming weeks.”
The FEMA mission assignments are intended to provide support nationwide to address possible medical facility shortages. USACE is prepared to assist the nation in times of crisis to the very best of its capabilities. USACE is working with the White House, Department of Defense, and other federal, state and local partners in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Under emergency conditions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, USACE serves as the engineering experts for FEMA,” said Jeff Herzog, site assessment team leader. “In this role the Honolulu team is supporting FEMA Region IX, the State of Hawaii, and the Hawaii counties assess alternate care facilities to meet their needs. We are evaluating these spaces for capacity, access, as well as mechanical and electrical engineering requirements.”
During emergencies, USACE is the federal government's lead public works and engineering support agency, and given its extensive work in building medical facilities for its military stakeholders is uniquely qualified to tackle this engineering challenge.
Overall, USACE has received six FEMA Mission Assignments (MAs) totaling approximately $361 million, and USACE has 15,000 personnel engaged in the response effort and providing support.
Information pertaining to specifications and implementation of the alternate care sites is available on the web at https://www.usace.army.mil/Coronavirus/Alternate-Care-Sites/.