One construction worker walks beneath dangling wires where oxygen will be connected for delivery to patients when needed. Gov. Jared Polis delivers his press briefing from the Colorado Convention Center on April 10, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The convention center will serve as one Alternative Care Facility, which if needed, can be used to handle a potential surge in COVID-19 cases. The Army Corps of Engineers begins the construction today housing this Tier 3 medical shelter with some 1,962 rooms.

Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday signed an executive order to activate alternate care sites for COVID-19 patients who do not require hospitalization but still need medical care and observation while recovering from the disease.

“This Executive Order suspends certain statutes,” the document reads, “and authorizes the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) in the Department of Public Safety to enter into contracts to allow ACSs to operate at the Colorado Convention Center and The Ranch Larimer County Fairgrounds and Events Complex (The Ranch).”

Denver Health will provide services at the Convention Center and UCHealth will staff The Ranch. The Army Corps of Engineers constructed the 1,962 beds at the convention center in early April, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency covering 75% of the cost. The Ranch has approximately 1,060 beds.

The Tier 3 facilities are not intended for walk-in patients or those seeking initial diagnoses, but rather for use in the event of a surge of COVID-19 patients.

During construction, Polis commented that “I don't expect this to be full nor completely empty.”

The executive order also suspends for 30 days the requirement that hospital facilities receive a license from the state in order to operate.

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