As communities work to contain the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak, Cat® dealers are there to ensure that hospitals and COVID-19 testing facilities stay powered, grocery stores stay stocked, and vital infrastructure stands ready for those who need it.
Cat dealers across the globe responded in March and April by marshalling resources and deploying rental power and support services in a timely fashion. Cat rental power modules have become a fixture at temporary field hospitals, medical screening tents, drive-through centers that test people for COVID-19, and more.
The following is a snapshot of the ways that Cat dealers in North America, and around the world, have responded to the crisis with rapid deployment of power and product support.
As government entities take extraordinary measures to contain the outbreak of the new coronavirus, temporary facilities to treat and screen patients are springing up around the globe to head off the contagion.
In Milwaukee, WI, a massive exposition center has been converted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers into a 1,000-bed facility for coronavirus patients who are not exhibiting acute symptoms in order to prevent nearby hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Preparing the facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park for coronavirus patients meant bringing in equipment commonly found in hospitals. Crews worked to install HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and Internet support services for healthcare providers while mapping out space for the intake and outflow of patients.
As a partner and supplier to the electrical contractor on the project, local Cat dealer Fabick Cat and its power systems team was called upon to immediately deliver six megawatts of stationary power to the site to serve as backup should grid power fail.
A common denominator in the creation of these temporary facilities is rapid deployment of resources and personnel to get them up and running. From the time the agreement was reached on April 10, Fabick Cat had three business days to deliver. The proposed solution was to utilize three Cat XQ2000 power modules to bring the site fully up and running in a week.
The first confirmed case in the U.S. of the global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was announced by the state of Washington on January 21. Until mid-March, Washington state had the highest absolute number of confirmed cases and the highest number per capita of any state in the country.
At Camp Murray—which serves as home to the Washington National Guard south of Tacoma—Cat dealer
N C Power Systems supplied an 80 kW rental generator that supplies power to four small portable structures that are being used to sterilize personal protective equipment (PPE) to help contain the outbreak in western Washington state and beyond. Hospitals will send N95 masks to Camp Murray.
The decontamination system will be able to clean and sterilize up to 80,000 protective N95 respirator masks every day, according to Katy Delaney, a spokesperson for the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System. Hospitals have had to ration masks and other medical protective gear due to a national shortage.
“We are facing a challenging time, and safety is our top priority,” said Mark Keeler, vice president of N C Power Systems. “Our top priority is to keep our employees healthy while taking care of our customers. Currently, all our facilities remain open to serve their needs, and we have the resources in place to minimize any disruptions.”
As the number of infections from the COVID-19 coronavirus continued to mount in Georgia during the first week of April, two Atlanta area healthcare organizations turned to Yancey Power Systems to assist with the setup of medical screening tents.
While approaches to adding surge capacity varies by organization, the tents utilized at one Atlanta acute care hospital and at an outpatient healthcare network are designed to screen people for the deadly disease. Those who test positive for COVID-19 are admitted, while non-infectious patients are evaluated and treated on-site or sent to a safe location for further evaluation and treatment. The goal is to provide treatment with a limited risk of exposure to COVID patients.
For this site, Yancey provided a Cat XQ125 mobile generator set to feed a 12-ton A/C unit along with a 75 kVA transformer, which connected to a splitter with GFCI outlets that provide multiple connection points around the tent for medical equipment. The setup also includes a 500-gallon fuel tank for extended generator run time.
Yancey combined efforts with another vendor so that the generator and the tent were presented to hospital facilities staff as a package to make the process simpler.
“In our walk-throughs of each site, we designated where all of the equipment needed to go, keeping in mind that they’ll need to run this for about two months,” said Peter Moore, a healthcare account manager for Yancey Power Systems. “We pointed out that if they are going to run 24 hours a day for that period of time, the generators will need to be serviced. So, we developed a plan to access all the units and pull them out and service them.”
At three separate locations at the network healthcare clinics around Atlanta, Yancey provided XQ125 rental generators, ancillary connections, and a 500-gallon fuel tank to serve medical screening tents set up in the driveway of the facilities.
“At most hospitals, if we’re servicing their generators, we have to be a trusted partner. If the generators fail when they’re needed, our customer’s job is on the line,” Moore says.
“If there’s no power in a healthcare facility, peoples’ lives are at stake. You have to earn trust with the facility operations’ team. They have to know that they can rely on you when the chips are down, that you’re going to respond when they need you. And that’s what we’re doing; we’re helping them navigate uncharted territory.”
In a region of Northern Italy hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, a field hospital established by Italy’s historic mountain infantry—the Alpini—has been treating the sick since opening on April 6 in a formerly vacant wing of a convention center in Bergamo Province.
Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in Northern Italy, the Lombardy region has been the area hardest hit by the global pandemic in Italy.
Construction of the field hospital in Bergamo was spearheaded by the Alpini, a historic mountain military corps founded in 1872 to protect Italy’s border with France and Austria-Hungary. As part of the army’s infantry corps, the specialty unit distinguished itself in combat during World War I and World War II.
Today, the Alpini is best known for its voluntary work in disaster relief. Their distinctive feathered hats are a fixture at emergency sites across Italy, a country afflicted by more natural calamities than any other in Europe. Wherever there is an earthquake or a flood, through its association of veterans, the Alpini are always present.
So, when the local chapter of the National Alpini Association put out a request for 12 additional builders to join their group of about 100 volunteers, more than 200 responded to donate their time and materials, said Sergio Rizzini, the general director of the National Alpini Association’s field hospital division.
Wearing the iconic pointed green hat with black feathers, current, former, and reserve infantry members of the Alpini led a 300-volunteer effort to complete the 144-bed hospital in seven days. Volunteers wearing leather bracelets engraved with the words “Mola mia”—or “Never give up”—worked a total of 16,000 hours to complete the hospital, Rizzini said.
Italy’s Cat dealer, CGT S.p.A., lent its support to the field hospital, donating five rental power generator sets—including three XQE250 models and two XQP275s—along with cables and ancillary equipment required to connect the gensets. The mobile Cat gensets will provide backup power in the event that grid power is lost, says Matteo Cattagni, rental power manager for CGT.
Because Italy was placed under a strict lockdown, making arrangements to transport the equipment to the site involved receiving clearance from local authorities, Cattagni said.
“That means we have more people working all day just to arrange a transport, and that is something that we normally make with a phone call,” Cattagni said. “Now you have to send emails and wait for a response. So, everything has been more difficult and takes longer, but these are the conditions we must operate under until the virus disappears.”
Realizing the gravity of the situation, CGT was happy to provide the equipment and product support services to the field hospital free of charge.
“Being part of the solution is something that provided a lot of energy to all of us at CGT,” Cattagni said. “We are a for-profit company, but it’s important to help others in such a difficult time.”
Michele Tresoldi, an administrative manager in CGT’s Energy Division, is also a member of the Alpini. In a teleconference interview, he sat beside Rizzini, both wearing their Alpini hats.
“The Alpini have a long history of service in our country, banding together and helping out in times of crisis,” Tresoldi said. “And to be able to pitch in and do our part as a Cat dealer and provide needed equipment and support this effort is something that makes us all very proud.”