COVID-19

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority is taking proactive steps to prepare for and mitigate against COVID-19.
In light of the current COVID-19 situation, and in partnership with Governor Kemp, Georgia World Congress Center Authority is converting an exhibit hall within Building A of the convention center into a 200-bed alternate care facility in anticipation of treatment of COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate (non-ICU) illness levels excluding ventilator support. Plans call for this facility to be operational in a rolling capacity. Due to the postponement or cancellation of previously booked business, GWCC can provide the necessary controlled environment and help alleviate stress on the state’s healthcare resources during this time of need.

Click here to read the official statement

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

As our city, region, and the state continue to ramp up healthcare capabilities, GWCC was called upon by Governor Kemp to help relieve the potential burden on area hospitals and healthcare resources. After tours of the facility by GEMA, it was assessed as a good option for potential surge capacity which will free up hospital beds for more severely impacted patients.

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) constructed a 200-bed alternate care facility in one exhibit hall in Building A to help relieve the potential burden on area hospitals and healthcare resources. Currently, plans call for this facility to cease medical operations on May 16.

Yes. GWCCA expects to be reimbursed for direct expenses including some administrative overhead.

No. Current plan is to utilize only one exhibit hall in Building A.

GEMA, in partnership with PAE, oversaw all aspects of construction. GWCCA team members (employees) were not involved in the construction of the space.

No.

No.

Alternate Care Facility Specifics

Georgia World Congress Center has been operational in a rolling capacity since late April. Currently, plans call for this facility to cease medical operations on May 16.

GEMA is utilizing only one exhibit hall in Building A and three meeting rooms for hospital staff. There is no patient access to lobbies, or upper floors. All patient movement happens via back dock access. Entry to the facility is limited to doors with direct access to the halls.

No testing resources are available within Georgia World Congress Center. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms or have reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact a medical professional.

Patients transferring in from a regular hospital as well as medical and logistics staff.

Clinical staff including Physicians, Certified Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Respiratory Therapists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacist Technicians, Paramedics/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), X-Ray (Radiological) Technicians, and supporting Clinical, Clerical, Administrative, and essential non-medical and support staff in ratios appropriate to care for 200 patients.

GWCC is being used for treatment of COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate (non-ICU) illness levels, excluding ventilator support. They are being monitored on site until they are discharged. Walk-up patients and visitors are not permitted.

All medical staff and support members entering the “hot zone” don/doff appropriate PPE upon entering and exiting the alternate care facility. Clinical staff and support staff have been trained in the latest infection control procedures.

PAE has partnered with Beck Facility Services (Beck) to provide complete decontamination services for both internal and external environments at Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Alternate Care Facility according to protocols set forth by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

Beck uses CDC approved and EPA registered industrial strength disinfectants with a broad spectrum kill claim and provides a proactive viral pathogen cleaning service designed to target high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, railing, electrical outlets, light switches, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, chairs, tablets, and tables. Its three-phase approach relies on CDC guidance and is designed in consultation with medical professionals, infectious disease experts, and commercial cleaning professionals.

The time to disinfect the space is included in GEMA’s occupancy of GWCC as an alternate care facility.

Prior to use as an alternative care facility, GWCCA had already placed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Congress Center, increased cleaning frequency for commonly contacted surfaces, and amplified handwashing protocols. GWCCA also posted signage throughout the facility and on digital monitors inside and outside the facility detailing further precautions recommended by the CDC. These precautions will continue.

With the exception of a small inventory of meeting room equipment being used for a press briefing area outside of the exhibit halls, no GWCC equipment is being used within the alternate care facility.

No, all food and beverage equipment is secured at this time and not being used in the support of the alternate care facility.

All recommended CDC infection control guidance for healthcare facilities are being implemented. Additionally, all medical staff and support members entering the “hot zone” don/doff appropriate PPE upon entering and exiting the alternate care facility. Clinical staff and support staff also have been trained in the latest infection control procedures.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority takes a very comprehensive approach to the safety and security of our guests. Our visible measures include uniformed security and police officer’s, specially trained hazardous materials police canine teams which constantly patrol our campus, and an engaged work force who serve as additional first reporters in the event of suspicious or unusual activity. We also utilize a variety of technological platforms to keep our campus safe. These platforms provide an ever-increasing concentric layer of security and detection. To avoid compromising the effectiveness of these technology platforms, our organization refrains from discussing the specifics and capabilities.

The medical vendor will dispose of all medical waste in accordance with regulatory guidelines from the CDC.

The ACF will cease medical operations on May 16th. According to PAE, it will take approximately 5 days to demobilize, decontaminate/clean, and restore GWCC’s exhibit hall. After decontamination, the ACF footprint will be reduced from 200 beds down to 40 beds. The 40-bed structure will be left in place in a "warm" capacity through June 23rd to ensure that if Georgia sees a spike in hospitalizations, the ACF could be recommissioned with very little set up time.

Team members are allowed in all areas of the facility except for Building A. Access to Building A is controlled by GWCCA Public Safety and only team members who have a valid reason to enter may access portions of Building A. No GWCCA team members will access patient areas of the alternate care facility.

Tenants in Building A will be allowed access to their office areas. However, they will be required to pass through a credential check and screening at the access control points leading into Building A.

All recommended CDC infection control guidance is being followed by the vendor. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, so you would need to be near someone infected with COVID-19 for an extended period of time to be at risk.

Customer and team member safety have always been a priority for GWCCA. Frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces and high-traffic areas are part of our standard protocol.

With the onset of COVID-19, GWCCA’s Facility Operations staff performed constant disinfecting and cleaning of common touchpoint areas (door handles, escalator handrails, comfort stations, food service areas, etc.), placed additional alcohol-based hand sanitizing stations throughout the Congress Center, increased cleaning frequency of commonly contacted surfaces, and amplified handwashing protocols. GWCCA also posted signage throughout the facility and on digital monitors inside and outside the facility detailing further precautions recommended by the CDC. We are exceeding the recommended CDC guidance on cleaning frequency. Additionally, GWCCA’s Communications team is amplifying current CDC infographics and prevention and hygiene strategies via strategic placement on monitors, staff comfort stations, organizational Intranet, social channels, and GWCCA.org.

As part of its business reopening plan, GWCCA is preparing protocols that address physical distancing rules in public and meeting spaces, attendee flow, maximum capacity, registration, and food and beverage queueing.

Customers who want to bring in a contractor/third party for additional cleaning can do so if the contractor operates within the scope of GWCCA’s prevailing contractual agreements. GWCCA has several relationships in place and would happy to provide information upon request.

GWCCA has been proactive in providing COVID-19 information and personal hygiene guidance, wellness and basic needs resources, as well as telework and flexible leave policies to provide peace of mind and the ability for team members to care for family impacted by the pandemic.

GWCCA Public Safety is partnering with in-house medical provider Event Medical to quickly respond to and isolate those presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. Event Medical will be able to conduct testing of those suspected of having COVID-19.


Real Time Updates

Our Efforts

GWCCA facility operations staff are already at an elevated approach to infection control. The precautionary measures in place include:

We also encourage all our team members and guests to follow the guidance below:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Resources

Contact COVID-19 hotline

The State of Georgia has a new COVID-19 hotline. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor, an urgent care clinic, or your local federally qualified healthcare center. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.
Hotline: (844) 442-2681

For the most up-to-date information, guests should visit the DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov/ or CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. CDC also offers free resources including video, fact sheets, and posters. Click the links below to access this information.

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