April 14, 2020

CannonDesign Assists in COVID-19 Surge for Behavioral Health Patients

As local governments look to convert unused, out of commission spaces to handle COVID-19 patient surge, we’ve been working with a longtime California partner to care for a vulnerable population.

CannonDesign has worked with the County of Riverside in California for the past 13 years, providing architecture, master planning, construction management and at-risk construction services. We’re currently involved in the development of three new libraries with the County using the P3 delivery method and recently completed a feasibility study for a new 100-bed inpatient mental health facility.

Because of this history, our relationship with the County of Riverside is one built on trust and respect. Recently, local officials called us with an urgent need to address the consequences of COVID-19 and the needs of a special patient population—behavioral health patients.

David Hunt and Matt Greiner (in the photo above) from our Southern California offices met with the County’s facility management team, while FaceTiming our mental & behavioral health leader, Tim Rommel, to evaluate the use of the vacant Riverside Juvenile Hall as an alternate care facility for COVID-19-related emergency needs. The unique patient populations that will be temporarily housed here are two-fold:

  • Transfers from the County’s behavioral health inpatient treatment facility who are symptomatic or COVID-19 positive.
  • Behavioral health residential treatment candidates. Currently, the County contracts for residential treatment, however, these facilities have either closed at this time or are not accepting new residents because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Juvenile Hall, although designed for correctional uses, has similar features needed for behavioral health facilities, such as lock-down conditions, anti-ligature protections and planning layouts designed for supervision. There are two areas of the facility that will be used with a total capacity of approximately 80 beds. We reviewed their plans to occupy, such as:

  • Anti-ligature survey
  • Cleaning and finish upgrades
  • HVAC modifications to ensure negative pressure in the COVID-19 treatment areas
  • Emergency power or generator requirements
  • Hardware sets for exiting
  • Path of travel, areas of refuge etc.
  • While not specifically asked, we provided the County our observations for additional patient safety concerns where we observed them for their consideration.

The County’s facilities team is working closely with clinical teams to prepare the building. As a temporary facility, the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development has waived standard regulations and has instead provided guidance and recommendations for minimum facilities needs for patient treatment. Our next steps in supporting the county include:

  • Code Analysis
  • Developing exiting plans
  • Interfacing with clinical teams to develop space plans, as needed

Thank you to the County of Riverside and  the countless frontline workers across the globe working to keep our communities safe.

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