6:00: Morning News

Thomas Health prepares Charleston hospital as surge center

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thomas Health is set to use Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston as a surge facility in the event of a dramatic increase of coronavirus cases.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources and Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, approached Thomas Health about using the facility as a surge hospital. Takubo is part of the medical staff at Thomas Memorial Hospital.

Dan Lauffer, Thomas Health’s president and CEO, said having the facility ready fits in the institution’s mission.

“We felt that this was something that we needed to do to help our community,” he said.

Members of the West Virginia Natural Guard and various state agencies worked Thursday to convert the space as an alternative care location.

The facility can accommodate up to 96 beds, and 36 beds will be ready as soon as Friday.

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