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Organizations freeing up space to act as relief sites amid COVID-19

Muskegon Community College and Guiding Light in Grand Rapids are two places opening up space for hospital beds.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Several West Michigan organizations are stepping up to serve as relief sites, if hospitals hit capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Stuart Ray is the Executive Director of Guiding Light Mission who plans to loan their facility on Division Avenue to the Kent County Health Department so it can be used as an isolation center for people during the crisis.

"We have a kitchen, we have 22 private rooms, we have a bunk area that can actually accommodate 68 and we have an 8,000 square foot chapel dining area," says Ray.

RELATED: Spectrum Health prepares to open 250 hospital beds inside GVSU building

And on the lakeshore, Muskegon Community College is also offering up space.

"Muskegon Community College's Health and Wellness Center is a 52,000 square foot building that was built in certain ways for this exact purpose," says MCC President Dr. Dale Nesbary.

The purpose now is crisis management as the facility will be used as a 50-bed hospital overflow site. 

"In case we do have a surge and we need extra space, we'll be up to the challenge," says Nesbary.

Both organizations say these actions are necessary during such a critical time.

"I'm 68, I've been in the workforce 50 years....I've never seen anything like this," Ray said. 

Also in Grand Rapids, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital said it will help decompress hospitals on the other side of the state by admitting patients from rehabilitation units to free up those beds. 

This comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested on Thursday that hospitals across the state assist southeast Michigan, where a majority of Michigan's COVID-19 patients are being treated. 

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