FLORISSANT, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A Florissant hotel is now outfitted to accommodate overflow COVID-19 patients, as local hospitals continue to see a rise in hospitalizations.
The Quality Inn, near I-270 and Hanley is being leased by the state and within the last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tarlton Corporation renovated the hotel to make it safe for patients.
Some of the work included cleaning HVAC systems, ensuring each room has just one bed, updates to the electrical system and making sure healthcare workers can perform medical functions.
The work was completed in just four days. Prior to that, it took officials just two days to secure the real estate and draft up a contract.
On Monday, officials with the Missouri National Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA and Tarlton announced the make-shift alternate care center is ready for patients, if the need arises.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the property will only be used if hospitals in the area exceed capacity. The county has also secured a similar location in West County, but has not announced its plans for that property.
The alternate care center will be managed by the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team, which will be helped by the Missouri National Guard.
John Doerr, Executive Vice President of Tarlton Corporation, said the project has special meaning to the local company.
The company's former chief, Robert Elsperman, died as a result of COVID-19 last Tuesday. A few hours later, his company received the call about the job.
"It was almost divine intervention," Doerr said. "This is the kind of project Bob would have loved. Something that was a challenge. It felt like he was here with us."
The opening of the center comes as Page announced St. Louis County would be investing several million dollars in testing kits in the coming weeks. With each kit costing around $25, it is expected to bring tens of thousands of COVID-19 testing kits to the county.