Seagate Centre one of six sites statewide set to house COVID-19 patients if needed

TOLEDO (WTVG) - As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, Ohio's leaders are trying to stay one step ahead.

"We've also been building a plan to expand healthcare at alternative sites," Gov. Mike DeWine said during a statewide address Monday.

The governor announced plans to open additional medical facilities at places like downtown Toledo's Seagate Convention Centre. It's one of six sites statewide tasked with coming online as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations grow.

"Even though we're going to start work on convention centers, because we know that would take time, we are a ways away from needing to use them," Dr. Amy Action with the Ohio Department of Health said.

While there's not an immediate need for the space, those like Dr. Acton said it pays to be prepared. If the Seagate Centre is used, state leaders said it will house overflow patients, like those in recovery.

"The goal for those facilities is to increase capacity," Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey said.

Batey said Ohio is doing a good job trying to slow the disease's spread. Even so, cases are spiking and hospitals like those in Wood County's are doing their best to prepare for an influx.

"Over the course of the next couple days and next couple weeks, that's going to continue increase, which then starts to really tax the healthcare system," Batey said.

As spots like Seagate Convention Center transform, Batey said the hope is that they're used as a last resort.

"They're creating those sort of convention center-type spaces just to be able to respond if they're needed," Batey said.

To make it a reality Batey said we all need to continue to do our part to limit the virus' reach.

"It's more important than ever in these next two weeks that people do what we've been asking and stay home," Batey said.

The Ohio National Guard is being tasked with helping to set up the SeaGate Centre. The entire facility it set to be up and running by April 22.