Written by: Owen Boyle
Less than a month ago The Liacouras Center held the Owls last home game of the season. Now, it will be used as a makeshift hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Friday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the arena would be used to house supplies and act as a field-hospital for overflow patients. The agreement between Temple and the City of Philadelphia also included the use of the athletic pavilion and Liacouras Garage if needed. This announcement came after the recently abandoned Hahnemann Hospital failed to reach an agreement in regard to reopening the hospital.
The use of the Liacouras Center, and all other Temple properties, comes at no cost for the city.
“This is a global issue that is here in our city,” Joe Sheridan, the general manager of the Liacouras Center said, “so we’re just happy to be in a position to help.”
As of now, the makeshift hospital is preparing for overflow patients to come in at any time. The Liacouras Center would take on patients from nearby hospitals and medical centers if those places become too overwhelmed.
The City of Philadelphia is currently looking for volunteers to help out on North Broad. The Liacouras Center is currently waiting on shipments of more supplies and help from medical professionals in the area. The city is encouraging citizens to join the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the group of volunteers that are deployed during major emergencies and times of crisis. A volunteer needs to be over the age of 18 and attend an orientation session to be considered for deployment.
The original plan for the makeshift hospital is to hold patients who haven’t been diagnosed with the coronavirus or suffering from any symptoms. The Liacouras Center will be home to lower risk patients who cannot be seen or treated in city hospitals. The arena floor will host up to 250 hospital beds with room for expansion.
The goal and hope for the city is that the Liacouras Center and other Temple buildings will not have to be used. Mayor Kenney wanted to make sure there were other medical options for people if hospitals overflow due to a surge in the virus.
Mayor Jim Kenny thanked the University in a press conference saying, “We are truly Temple Proud.”
Philadelphia continues to show its strength and resilience through these troubling times, Temple and the Liacouras Center are perfect examples.