Mar 23, 2020

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers William S. Moorhead Federal Building Closes Due to COVID-19 Concerns

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District has announced the closure of its downtown offices 

coronavirus covid-19

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District has announced the closure of its Downtown offices in the William S. Moorhead Federal Building until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns.

All district-managed campgrounds are shutdown, reported the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Individuals with paid reservations will be contacted and full refunds will automatically be processed with no cancellation fees.

The Corps also announced district-sponsored events such as Earth Day, Lockfest and Paddle Through events, public meetings and other public gatherings are on hold and will be held virtually.

Pittsburgh District’s includes: more than 328 miles of navigable waterways; 23 navigation locks and dams; 16 multi-purpose flood-control reservoirs; 42 local flood-protection projects and more. 

“We are working diligently to find innovative ways to continue serving the public during this national health emergency,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Klink, district commander. “Pittsburgh District is committed to maintaining critical flood risk management through aggressive water management and essential navigation along our rivers to support the continued movement of coal, fuels and other goods required to sustain the region.”

District staff will continue to monitor and assess the effects of this virus on operations and processes to ensure staff and public safety will adjust accordingly, added Lt. Col. Klink.

The Corps is also working with 13 states to surge hospital bed capacity, already identifying 12 buildings in New York that may be adapted for patient care.

"We need something super simple," said Corps Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite. "This is an unbelievably complicated problem, and there is no way to do this with a complicated solution."

The steps the Corps will follow to prepare a facility include the state first nominating existing facilities and then signing a lease with the facility and turning it over to the Corps. 

The building will be turned into an "ICU-like" facility, with hospital beds, nursing stations and other components required for patient care. FEMA and HHS would then stock the rooms with a standard set of supplies and the state would staff the facilities with medical personnel, reported the Washington Examiner.

The Army confirmed it has 45 COVID-19 cases, including 21 soldiers, 10 contractors, eight dependents, and six civilians as of Mar. 19, 2020. Eight of those individuals have been hospitalized.

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