LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – In an effort to further protect residents in Northern Colorado from the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus, health experts in Larimer County are prepared to house sick people at either the Budweiser Event Center or the surrounding facilities on The Ranch property. County Director of Emergency Management Lori Hodges told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas 10 beds have been established on The Ranch property, with the possibility of 160 beds in the future, to house those in the homeless population who need to quarantine.
Hodges said the county prepared for a time such as the COVID-19 outbreak previously, and now was the time to move forward with establishing beds for the ill.
“Our job is to always look forward a few steps ahead,” Hodges said. “We have community spread. So, at this point we are looking at the next phase.”
“The Ranch” complex serves as the county fairgrounds, and also is home to The Budweiser Event Center. The county owns the property, which hosts professional hockey games, 4-H competitions and trade shows. However, after Gov. Jared Polis issued a state-wide stay-at-home order, the complex was closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
With the facilities sitting empty, the county moved forward to make the complex a location for those who have nowhere to quarantine to seek shelter and limited care.
“We already do have an area of the ranch that is set up for people who don’t have a home that might test positive,” Hodges said. “This is obviously unprecedented. Nobody has gone through this before.”
The county says they are reserving the current beds for those who are homeless, or those who have nowhere to quarantine. The following criteria must be met to reserve a bed as of March 26:
• Homeless status with no optional locations (family/friends) to isolate for the required time period.
• At discharge point from hospital for acute respiratory issues with rule-out of other illnesses and pending COVID-19 test results
• Positive COVID-19 test result
“We can take people right now, today, who need isolation quarantine,” Hodges said. “If they never use the ranch that is great, we pack our equipment and we are good to go. If they do need the ranch, we want to be ready for it and we want to help our hospital systems.”
With UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies across the interstate from The Ranch, Hodges said the county was working with their partners to see how a potential makeshift hospital would work, where medical equipment and additional beds for the public would be housed at The Ranch.