ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (KDKA) – Plans are in the works to treat coronavirus patients in rural areas.
One involves the possible reopening of the Ellwood City Medical Center and the other is a plan to bring suffering veterans to the Butler VA Hospital.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
“Close to 200 patients, maybe 75 rooms and also over 100 beds,” Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court told KDKA News.
Preparations are being made to accept dozens of coronavirus patients, consolidating the treatment of those stricken veterans here at this facility.
The VA would not confirm or deny the plan to bring veterans stricken by the virus here for treatment.
In a statement, it said: “The Butler VA Medical Center has the capacity to take on additional patients, and will accept them from other VA facilities, if needed. This type of resource sharing is routine within the VA healthcare system during emergencies.”
Nationally, there are 1,600 veterans who have tested positive.
WATCH: KDKA’s Pam Surano Reports Live From The Ellwood City Medical Center.
Sources within in the VA say the plan is to treat as many as 50 coronavirus sufferers, transporting them as needed from VA facilities in Ohio, West Virginia and other parts of Pennsylvania.
The VA’s plans are similar to other plans to treat a possible surge in other rural areas.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Tornado Warning Issued For Parts Of Mercer, Lawrence, Washington And Butler Counties
WATCH: Andy Sheehan Reports
Ellwood City Medical Center closed in December from financial problems and bankruptcy but is being evaluated by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for possibly reopening to treat coronavirus cases.
“It could be used to house people that have COVID-19 but it probably looks like it would be used for overflow of patients for general medical care.,” said Rep. Aaron
The U.S. Corp of Army Engineers evaluated the site Tuesday night and PEMA should be making a decision in the next few days.
For Mayor Court, the fears of the coronavirus hit especially close to home.
The mayor sought medical treatment after having symptoms of a dry cough, sore throat and high fever.
He was tested for the virus on Wednesday.
“To see it up close and personal like that, really left a mark on me, Court said.MORE NEWS: 'Best Small Cities In America': 2 Western Pa. Communities Ranked In The Top 25
Mayor Court expects his test results within two days.