FEMA setting up medical operation at Glen Mills Schools site to aid coronavirus response

Mike Dougherty
March 27, 2020 - 9:01 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is setting up a medical site at the former Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County.

The current plan is to use the site for overflow from area hospitals. Patients who are not being treated for COVID-19 would be transferred to the Glen Mills site for continuing care.

Christopher Spriggs, the acting director at the Glen Mills Schools, which has been closed since last year, says he offered up the space a couple of weeks ago. Politicians, including Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, took him up on that.

Related: The latest coronavirus news from Pennsylvania and New Jersey

He says his team is ready to go.

"We recognize the magnitude of this crisis," Spriggs said. "We've all talked internally that we all will be known by how we responded to this pandemic. And we're actually honored to be working with people who are working to protect as many citizens as possible."

He says FEMA trucks might start arriving as soon as Friday. They could begin setting up operations in the 85,000-square-foot recreation center. Spriggs said there will be some meetings Friday to discuss how to proceed. 

“If you think of what’s going in New York City and we see those hospitals that are so crowded with COVID-19, well there are other patients who need care in New York City and would be in a facility that might be overrun with COVID-19 patients. In case a surge like that were to happen in the region, we would have this facility available to handle non COVID-19 patients,” Delaware County Council chairman Brian Zideck said. 

The facility can hold 250 to 300 patients. 

Officials say medical professionals will be taken from different hospitals through the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, which should not deplete other medical facilities.

“I hope that we don’t need to use this. It is my hope that our hospitals are able to manage the COVID-19 crisis without the use of this federal medical station. But out of an abundance of caution, we want to make sure that we have facilities in place should the need arise,” Zideck added.

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KYW Newsradio's Antionette Lee contributed to this report.