Pasadena-based engineering and construction services firm Tetra Tech has helped convert a closed and partially abandoned hospital in East Orange, New Jersey, into a 250-bed facility to receive non-acute COVID-19 patients.
The project, which began treating COVID-19 patients earlier this month, was managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District. A Tetra Tech statement said within 12 hours after getting the go-ahead, the company has its team on-site.
The team included specialized design engineers and construction management professionals from the Cutting Edge Group and Archstone Builders, who designed and installed new patient care rooms, water and sanitation system upgrades, emergency power and fire protection systems, and wireless communication networks for the six-story building.
Up to 200 staff worked in teams 24 hours a day, the statement said.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was able to quickly access Tetra Tech’s engineering design and construction management services by working through one of our small disadvantaged business partners, the Cutting Edge Group,” Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO, said. “We rapidly mobilized our in-house experts and leveraged our existing relationships with the engineering and construction community to deliver the personnel needed to perform the work on an accelerated timeline.”
Tetra Tech said it first developed a specific COVID-19 infectious disease and preparedness plan before starting work on-site. The company assigned dedicated crews to disinfect high-touch surfaces, required Personal Protective Equipment, including masks, for all personnel, maintained social distancing requirements, and used infrared thermometers to take the temperature of personnel entering the site.
It took about 25,000 field hours for the team to complete the project without a single safety incident, and none of the nearly 300 project participants contracted the COVID-19 virus to date, the statement said.
One of several patient care best management practices is a wireless emergency nurse call system, which operates on a self-contained radio frequency. The Corps of Engineers plans to implement the system on future COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility projects, the statement said.