Pipkin Building could be used as COVID-19 triage center

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The old Pipkin Building at the Fairgrounds could be turned into a triage center if there’s a surge in the number of coronavirus cases here, members of the city and county’s COVID task force said.

“If we have the surge, ER’s may be inundated,” said city councilman Dr. Jeff Warren, a member of the task force. “You need a place where ambulance can come and bring some for initial triage. So think of it as a medical E.R.”

The Pipkin Building would be transformed into a 100-bed patient triage center, centrally located from the city’s major hospitals such as Baptist, Saint Francis, Methodist University and Regional One.

“We’ve been looking at New York, we’ve been looking at Seattle and Italy and what we want to do is be prepared in case things go seriously wrong here,” Warren said.

At the city of Memphis-Shelby County task force update, Tuesday, officials said it’s another way to just be prepared.

“That’s an additional several dozen beds that will also be available should the need arise, but we are optimistic we will be able to cover the overflow,” county Mayor Lee Harris said.

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