(ATLANTA) – The Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp announced the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is preparing a COVID-19 alternate care facility for non-critical patients in Milledgeville.

The 80-bed site will be housed at the National Guard Youth Challenge Academy facility located at 451 Baland Circle, and staffed with contract medical personnel from PAE Staffing – the same company used to staff the alternate care facility at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“The preparation of this smaller facility allows us to provide medical care to low-acuity patients at a location that is more centrally located for many medical facilities throughout Georgia,” said Governor Kemp. “We continue monitoring the virus data to enable us to ‘right size’ the resources and response so we can ensure every COVID-19 patient gets the care they need.”

Two units of the Georgia Department of Defense owned facility, will be repurposed as hospital rooms and were repainted and sanitized. Each room will be equipped with hospital beds and privacy walls, as well as medical supplies, relocated from the Georgia World Congress Center. The remaining equipment from GWCC will be warehoused at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. All of these assets are owned by the state, allowing future utilization during natural disasters, healthcare infrastructure needs, and related emergencies similar to Grady Memorial Hospital’s recent water line break in December. The facility will be available on standby with staffing capability should the need arise.

“Throughout the pandemic, our team has worked with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Public Health to make sure we have what is needed to respond,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson. “Preparing this facility provides an additional safety net by ensuring adequate bed space for medical facilities and our nursing homes. We want to utilize the resources that the State has already brought on line to address the medical needs of Georgia.”

Completion of the facility is expected in early July.

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As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMA/HS works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMA/HS’s Ready Georgia campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters. Go to gema.ga.gov for information on developing a custom emergency plan and Ready kit.