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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two large sites better known for sports and concerts could become temporary hospitals in the Kansas City metro. As the number of coronavirus cases in Missouri continues to rise, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made the announcement Tuesday. The Missouri National Guard has been scouting potential sites if Missouri hospitals get overwhelmed treating COVID-19 patients. The governor said Tuesday that Hy-Vee Arena in Kansas City’s West Bottoms and Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence are both on the list, though nothing has been confirmed. The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, the Hammons Student Center and JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri Southern’s Legget and Platt Arena in Joplin, the Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau and Hearnes Arena in Columbia have also been identified as possible care centers. Missouri’s National Guard is also in the Kansas City metro looking for two more potential locations as well. The state has three main criteria for these potential care centers:
  • Located in areas with deficient bed counts,
  • Areas with spaces large enough for patient populations, and
  • Areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction if necessary.
Mayor Quinton Lucas said they’re preparing for a spike in cases, ready to provide not only space but financial resources as well. “It will peak at some point,” he said. “We want to make sure that the Kansas City is ready for that spike.” Local leaders would prefer to use municipal buildings instead of hotels since they’re already owned by the city. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep people safe, quite frankly, no matter the cost,” Lucas said. “What we’re hoping right now is we have enough infrastructure built up that helps address these issues long term.” A number of other agencies, including the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency and the Missouri Hospital Association have been working on this effort. In New York, city officials are already implementing additional hospital space for non-coronavirus patients in order to keep the seriously ill in regular hospitals. Lucas pointed to New York City’s environment as a worst case scenario of what could happen, reminding residents to stay home and stop the spread. Facilities will only be activated if they are necessary.