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Univ. of Idaho dorm transformed into housing for possible coronavirus patients

Targhee Hall used to be a men's dorm and it has had various uses over the years, including acting as temporary office space.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Leaders at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho have transformed a men’s dorm at the University of Idaho into a place to house potential coronavirus patients.

As of Tuesday, Latah County did not have any confirmed cases, but hospital leaders said they want to be ready.   

Targhee Hall used to be a men's dorm and it has had various uses over the years, including acting as temporary office space.

"We've been working very aggressively for many weeks as a team to help reposition healthcare in our community," said Peter Mundt with Gritman Medical Center.

As a precaution, Targhee Hall has been set up to potentially house coronavirus patients or medical staff working at the local hospital. The former dorm would essentially act as overflow space if need be because the hospital only has so much space.

Gritman Medical Center is normally a 25-bed hospital. Lately, they've been ramping up efforts to become ready for potential coronavirus patients.

"We've been working fast and flexible to make sure we're ready to meet the challenges as they may present to us," Mundt said.

Though Latah County hasn’t seen any coronavirus cases, a part time University of Idaho employee who lives in Nez Perce county did test positive.

The employee hasn’t been on campus for almost three weeks.

Targhee Hall isn't currently being used by the University of Idaho. The school offered it up to Gritman and the building was cleaned and inspected to make sure it's ready to go. It would act as a confined area that that protects the rest of campus and the public, hospital leaders said.

Sick patients could recover there, or medical workers exposed to the virus and who can't return home could potentially stay there too. Both the school and Gritman said this is a strong example of their teamwork and partnership during a pandemic.

“Working together, ahead of the pandemic hitting our community, is easier because we work together already. Gritman Moscow Family Medicine provides the staffing for Vandal Health on campus as well as provides the physician for Vandal Athletics,” Jodi Walker with the University of Idaho said in a statement.

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