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EMA director: Hundreds of COVID beds rumor unfounded

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The local rumor mill has been busy in the last several weeks, with claims that the Department of Public Health is planning to set up hundreds of COVID-19 recovery beds in facilities around Baldwin County.

One rumored location was the RYDC near the bypass/Ga. 22 intersection, while another was the Kidd Building, located on the Vinson Highway.

Wayne Johnson, local Emergency Management Agency director, this week told The Baldwin Bulletin that the rumors are unfounded. Instead, according to Johnson, the DPH is in the process of setting up 76 recovery beds inside of the Boland Building on the campus of Central State Hospital, most recently home to the National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy, which currently is in the process of moving out.

The COVID-19 beds at the Boland Building are a contingency plan and may or may not ever be needed, according to Johnson. It’s similar to what the DPH set up at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta in April, anticipating an increase in cases.

“It’s not as if they’ll hire a full-time staff and have (nurses and doctors) in (the Boland Building) the whole time if the need isn’t there,” Johnson said. “It’s a wait-and-see type of situation.

The Boland Building would be set up to accomodate recovering COVID-19 patients from Middle Georgia hospitals who no longer require intensive care, added Johnson.