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New Hampshire Guardsmen set up additional care site at UNH

Capt. Jacob Ricciotti, foreground, a pilot for the 133rd Air Refueling Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, and Pfc. Nathan Huston, a diesel mechanic for the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire Army National Guard set up beds at the Hamel Recreational Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, Mar. 23. The facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Capt. Jacob Ricciotti, foreground, a pilot for the 133rd Air Refueling Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, and Pfc. Nathan Huston, a diesel mechanic for the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire Army National Guard set up beds at the Hamel Recreational Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, Mar. 23. The facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, administration officer for the 157th Medical Group, New Hampshire Air National Guard, discusses with regional hospital representatives the operations scope of the additional care site at the Hamel Recreation Center, University of New Hampshire on March 26. The facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, administration officer for the 157th Medical Group, New Hampshire Air National Guard, discusses with regional hospital representatives the operations scope of the additional care site at the Hamel Recreation Center, University of New Hampshire on March 26. The facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, 157th Civil Engineers Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, offloads supplies at the Hamel Recreation Center, University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, 157th Civil Engineers Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, offloads supplies at the Hamel Recreation Center, University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

New Hampshire National Guardsmen bring medical supplies into the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

New Hampshire National Guardsmen bring medical supplies into the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, 157th Civil Engineers Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, brings supplies into the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, 157th Civil Engineers Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, brings supplies into the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, 157th Civil Engineers Squadron, and Capt. Jacob Ricciotti, 157th Operations Group, New Hampshire Air National Guard, bring medical supplies into the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, 157th Civil Engineers Squadron, and Capt. Jacob Ricciotti, 157th Operations Group, New Hampshire Air National Guard, bring medical supplies into the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, administration officer for the 157th Medical Group, jots notes in preparation for the set up of an additional care site at the Hamel Recreational Center, University of New Hampshire on March 25. The 250-bed facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state.(U.S. Air Natinal Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, administration officer for the 157th Medical Group, jots notes in preparation for the set up of an additional care site at the Hamel Recreational Center, University of New Hampshire on March 25. The 250-bed facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state.(U.S. Air Natinal Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Pvt. Mackenzie Pelkey, a fire control specialist, 197th Fires Artillery Brigade, and Sgt. Robert Peterson, a motor transportation operator, 744th Forward Support Company, New Hampshire Army National Guard, help prepare the floor of the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the New Hampshire National Guard plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Pvt. Mackenzie Pelkey, a fire control specialist, 197th Fires Artillery Brigade, and Sgt. Robert Peterson, a motor transportation operator, 744th Forward Support Company, New Hampshire Army National Guard, help prepare the floor of the Hamel Recreation Center at the University of New Hampshire, March 25, 2020. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the New Hampshire National Guard plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill and Tech. Sgt. Mark Quinn, 157th Civil Engineer Squadron, lay down matting at Hamel Recreation Center gym floor, March 25, 2020, at the University of New Hampshire. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill and Tech. Sgt. Mark Quinn, 157th Civil Engineer Squadron, lay down matting at Hamel Recreation Center gym floor, March 25, 2020, at the University of New Hampshire. The facility will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine the NHNG plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Mark Quinn and Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, assigned to the 157th Civil Engineer Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, prepare the Hamel Recreational Center floor for medical equipment at the University of New Hampshire, March 25. The facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)
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Tech. Sgt. Mark Quinn and Tech. Sgt. Lance Whitehill, assigned to the 157th Civil Engineer Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard, prepare the Hamel Recreational Center floor for medical equipment at the University of New Hampshire, March 25. The facility in Durham will augment area hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, if necessary. It is one of nine "surge" locations the NH Guard, in coordination with local and state healthcare agencies, plans to set up and manage across the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Durham, N.H. --

A team of New Hampshire National Guardsmen established a 250-bed hospital overflow site at the University of New Hampshire’s Hamel Recreation Center in support of the state’s on-going COVID-19 response efforts, March 25-26.

The temporary facility will house patients who are discharged from the hospital, but cannot return home right away.

According to Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, 157th Medical Group administrative officer, the surge facility will take the strain off other medical facilities by accepting those patients who are not exhibiting life threatening conditions. Patients may end up at the surge facility for a number of reasons, she added.

“It could be their nursing home won’t let them back in because they have not fulfilled their 14-day quarantine period, or they have a family member at home who is still under quarantine and they don’t want to get infected,” she said. “Or it could be a more social-economic issue where someone doesn’t have a place to go.”

The effort was a joint operation between the Air and Army National Guard. Guardsmen also worked closely with health experts from four regional hospitals and UNH to develop the scope and framework of the support operations.

“At some point, based on what happens with COVID-19, they need to stand up these alternate surge sites.” said Col. Erik Fessenden, 197th Field Artillery Brigade commander and director of military support. “The lights will go on and the Guard will help the hospitals and local community to run these locations.”

The plan is for the facility to have a medical doctor on-call, as well as two case managers and a social worker on site every day.

The intent is for patients who use the facility to be released back to their home or nursing facility within three days.

In addition to the Durham site, state Guardsmen have set up additional surge sites in Nashua, Manchester and Plymouth.

“Hopefully through this, we can relieve pressure from the hospitals for those more acute patients that require ventilators, especially as it relates to COVID-19.” Mastrobattista said. “That’s really what this place is going to be for. That is the need of the community.”

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