What can facility managers learn from coronavirus?
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
A seemingly impossible feat of engineering, construction, and facilities management has been accomplished in the face of a global pandemic based in the People’s Republic of China.
The feat of modern facility creation started in late January when the Chinese government announced it would build a 1,000-bed hospital to house patients battling the Wuhan coronavirus in just six days. The actual construction time was closer to eight days, but the result was the same.
Wuhan is the Chinese city is where the outbreak was initially discovered. The building was created using prefabricated materials to make the process move along quicker.
China is struggling to deal with the virus, which has infected more than 20,000 people and killed more than 400.
The method of building a hospital so quickly follows the game plan of the SARS outbreak that occurred in 2003, Facilities Management reports. The current hospital was built on a 25,000-square-meter site.
The enclosed building is nearly the size of five football fields. Workers were reportedly being paid up to 1,200 yuan ($173) per day, triple their usual wages. At the site, there were at least 35 diggers, 10 bulldozers, and more than 100 people working on the facility.
Huoshenshan Hospital, as it is being called, will provide 700 to 1,000 beds and will be managed by the Chinese military.
The hospital’s construction began after reports of overcrowded hospitals and shortages of beds. It is one of two dedicated facilities being constructed to help tackle the outbreak.
Feb. 2 saw the first confirmed fatality outside China, in the Philippines. As of this writing, there were more than 150 confirmed cases outside of China. Many more are expected.There are currently 11 reported confirmed cases in the U.S.
U.S. officials also have declared a public health emergency, meaning foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last two weeks and aren't immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be temporarily banned from entering the U.S.
Back in China, a second hospital at Leishenshan is due to be finished on Feb. 5, reports say. National Health Commission spokesman Jiao Yahui told Reuters that, with the new hospitals, the city would have more than 10,000 beds available, enough to cope with current suspected and confirmed cases.
Despite all of the global concern related to the coronavirus, the flu is still the primary concern for most in the U.S., especially for facility managers. The cost of the illness to the American economy is hundreds of billions of dollars in lost productivity when employees show up to work but are unable to perform at their best.
For that, there are guidelines, including the tried and true: washing hands, staying educated, and remaining diligent. As far as the Wuhan coronavirus, the same is true for now. Diligence, education, calm, and patience.
Additionally, remain continuously committed to emergency preparedness and business continuity planning. For this, companywide, top-down support is needed.
A crisis such as a pandemic or flu can create confusion and even panic. Armed with a business continuity plan, executives can respond in an orderly, rational way. This kind of plan allows decisions to be made along with predetermined guidelines.
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