Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence is among several sites around Missouri considered as possible locations for an emergency medical facility if the coronavirus pandemic overwhelms nearby hospitals.
Gov. Mike Parson said Monday the Missouri National Guard had been working since last week to identify “potential alternate care sites,” if needed around the state in the near future. Those sites included Cable Dahmer Arena (just renamed from Silverstein Eye Centers Arena), and Kansas City’s Hy-Vee Arena (formerly Kemper Arena).
“It’s preparation at this point; nothing’s imminent,” Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said. “That’s an identified site for a variety of needs.”
“We’re just doing planning. That’s what it’s all about – being prepared.”
Weir said she believes Cable Dahmer Arena could be used more for non-COVID-19 patients who might otherwise go to a hospital – the arena likely couldn’t provide the isolation necessary for COVID-19 patients – and if necessary they could be transported to a nearby hospital for more intensive care. Centerpoint Medical Center is across Interstate 70 from the arena.
In recent years, the arena has hosted a free dental clinic run by the state dental association, and emergency planners conducted a mock scenario of hosting earthquake victims from the east side of the state.
The arena box office is closed through at least April 24 under the metro area stay-at-home order, and the arena and adjacent community ice rink are closed to the public through approximately mid-May.
Other sites the governor is said have been considered around the state:
• The Edward Jones Dome and adjacent America’s Center Convention Complex, St. Louis.
• Hammons Student Center and JQH Arena at Missouri State University, Springfield.
• Leggett and Platt Athletic Center at Missouri Southern State University, Joplin.
• Show Me Center, Cape Girardeau.
• The Hearnes Center at University of Missouri-Columbia.
“What we have is the benefit of seeing other cities around the country that are being hit harder than we are,” Weir said of scouting possible emergency medical sites. “Hopefully we won’t need them, if we’re being really diligent about staying home and stopping the spread.”