Coronavirus: University of Kentucky will turn indoor football facility into a temporary hospital


The University of Kentucky healthcare system is utilizing the football team’s facilities.

UK HealthCare announced Friday that a 400-bed temporary hospital for coronavirus patients will be constructed at Nutter Field House. That’s the football team’s indoor practice facility located next to Kroger Stadium.

“As the Commonwealth’s health care provider for advanced and critical care, it is essential that we are prepared for any scenario to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community and the Commonwealth,” executive vice president Dr. Mark F. Newman said in a statement. “We need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that highest quality of care is provided to meet the challenges associated with this unprecedented public health crisis.”

The school said the temporary hospital would be operational in two weeks and include partitioned rooms, shower units, daily laundry service and a temporary generator system for water and food services.

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“[Athletic director] Mitch Barnhart and the UK Athletics Department stood up immediately to offer assistance in meeting this public health crisis,” Newman said. “They have been, and continue to be, critical partners in our ability to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community at this crucial time.”

The Nutter Field House is used by multiple Kentucky sports and features a track around the indoor football field as well as a netting system that allows it to be divided up for multiple teams to practice at the same time. The announcement that it’ll be converted into a temporary field hospital comes after the announcement that there would be a 2,000-bed hospital at the state fairgrounds in Louisville.

The state of Kentucky said Thursday that it had over 700 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and that 30 people had died from the virus. There are confirmed coronavirus cases in over half of the 120 counties in the state, and state and healthcare officials expect the number of confirmed cases to continue to grow throughout the month of April.

Total confirmed coronavirus cases across the world topped 1 million on Thursday, though that number in actuality is probably higher because of the lack of testing in the United States and other places.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

Kentucky fans fill Nutter Field House to meet their favorite players and coaches during the annual NCAA college football Fan Day in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/ David Stephenson)
Kentucky's Nutter Field House is going to be a temporary hospital. (AP Photo/ David Stephenson)

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Originally published