Connecticut National Guard transforms James Moore Field House into field hospital
Alexandra Scicchitano — Opinions & Features Editor
Hunter O. Lyle — Sport Editor
In the newest chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the James Moore Field House is being converted into a field hospital, run by Yale New Haven Hospital, to support the hospital’s overflow of incoming patients.
Currently there has been no official announcement of the specific patients that will be moved to Southern’s campus and whether they will be dealing with the coronavirus hands-on.
They haven’t started with patients yet,” said Bertolino. “But I suspect that will happen soon.”
According to Bertolino, the field house is becoming an extension of the Yale New Haven Hospital, which according to a report by the Connecticut Mirror, has seen 53 COVID-19 deaths as of April 7.
“The vast majority of healthcare providers would come from the hospital and the governor has called for volunteers throughout the state,” said Bertolino, “so it’s also very possible the individuals will find their way to our campus, would be volunteers.”
This measure was possible because Southern’s campus is owned by the state, and therefore, the government can use it for any purpose when needed.
“[When] we had to turn our facilities — basketball court, track, indoor athletics facilities, gymnastics — into a hospital, we realized how important it was, and that we’d be giving up our home for a few months to help basically, we were helping the healthcare industry flatten the curve so there’s not overwhelmed hospitals at this point in time,” said Moran.
According to Jay Moran, Southern’s athletic director, his staff oversaw the preparation of the field house for the National Guard, which included clearing rooms and offices and moving equipment out of the way.
“My athletic staff, facilities staff, equipment and athletic training [staff] were all in from Sunday to Wednesday two weeks ago,” said Moran, about cleaning up the field house.
Moran said a lot of what they did was orchestrate moving equipment with the National Guard.
The National Guard, said Bertolino, is still at the field house and they have brought their own medical and other personnel.
“As I understand, they’re running the place and then again I’m assuming they’ll bring in healthcare professionals from Yale New Haven and other places,” said Bertolino.
Bertolino said when the state reached out to them to use their facilities, the state was not sure if it
wanted to use them for homeless people, or healthcare workers or patients. Regardless, within days of the request, the field house started to be converted.
“Soon after [first contact], they contacted us [again] regarding the Moore Field House. That happened pretty quickly,” Bertolino said. “They advised us that they wanted to use the Moore Field House and they were going to have the National Guard come in and set up medical facilities.”
Originally, Bertolino said, instead of the field house, the state reached out to use the residence halls. However, while the state has claimed Moore Field House for help to fight the ongoing crisis, the decision about the residence halls is still up in the air.
“There is still in conversation about that, what they are going to use the residence halls for. I don’t think they’ve reached any final decisions there,” said Bertolino.
In the next coming weeks, the gymnasium turned hospital will be stocked with doctors, nurses and other medical officials and staff, all working to slow and stop the spread of coronavirus. While this may be true, Bertolino said that there will be no exposure for Southern staff, as only the medical personnel will be allowed inside.
Overall, Bertolino said he was enthusiastic to help the community.
“While I’d rather us all be on campus,” said Bertolino, “I couldn’t be prouder of the university.”