Muskegon Community College has partnered with the State of Michigan and Mercy Health to use the college’s Health and Wellness Center as a site for hospital beds for overflow patients to free up space in area hospitals for the possible influx of critical COVID-19 cases.
The 52,000 square-foot facility, which has been unoccupied since March 19 when MCC suspended all on-site operations, will provide spaces designed to meet this emergency purpose.
In addition to its large gymnasium for the beds, the Center is home to the College’s Nursing and Respiratory Therapy Simulation Center, with its four sim labs and debriefing rooms, as well as MCC’s Medical Assistant Program, with its three exam rooms, three blood draw stations, and a laboratory station for point-of-care testing and analysis.
The Center is also home to Mercy Health Physician Partners Quarterline Family Medicine, a partnership between MCC, Mercy Health Muskegon, and Grand Valley State University. The primary clinic occupies roughly 4,000 square feet with eight exam rooms, a treatment room, and a lab to accommodate three Nurse Practitioners and their support staff.
David E. Ogren, the emergency management coordinator at Mercy Health, approached MCC about the availability of the Health and Wellness Center as part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Region 6 plan to address COVID-19.
“Our mission at Muskegon Community College is to build stronger communities and improve lives,” said MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “In these difficult days, we are thankful that our college can help those on the front lines in mitigating COVID-19’s impact on our community and state.”
Nesbary added that, only a few years ago, state and local funding helped to build MCC’s Health and Wellness Center to educate and train tomorrow’s health professionals.
“It’s fitting that today’s health professionals, too, can tap into the Center’s many features to battle one of the greatest health challenges of our lifetime,” he added.
Nesbary credits a responsive team of MCC administrators for quickly accommodating the request by Mercy Health and the MDHHS. These include: Physical Plant Director David Sturgeon; Director of Nursing and Health Programs Chris Patterson; Director of Respiratory Therapy Deb Grube; Nursing Coordinator Beth Kroll; Medical Assistant Coordinator Dawn Platt; and Health and Wellness Center Manager and Assistant Athletic Director Jimmy Booth.
Contractually, the MHDDS and Mercy Health can use the Health and Wellness Center through May 27. MCC has suspended its on-site operations on campus until May 4. The college is delivering its remaining winter semester instruction by means of distance education. The semester concludes in early May.