ISO-Q Complex at Cashman Center becomes operational, begins taking patients

April 13, 2020

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LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Clark County and the City of Las Vegas teamed up to create the ISO-Q Complex at Cashman Center, an isolation quarantine complex for the homeless.

“This is an at-risk, vulnerable, patient population," Medical Director Dr. Marc O'Griofa said. "We’re trying to give the best support possible to try and ensure that these patients are not out dying on the streets.”

However, the people who will end up at the ISO-Q center can't just walk up and inquire about staying there. They must be sent there from medical providers, according to city and county leadership.

"Only homeless persons with appropriate referrals from the area medical providers and the Cashman ISO-Q staff will be permitted at the site," Ward 5 Councilman Cedric Crear said. “We know that with the close contact of the homeless population that there will potentially be much more persons that have been contacted with the virus, so we needed to get prepared for it. It’s just simple.”

Patients who are confirmed to have COVID-19 will enter from a separate point than those who are just known to have been exposed to the coronavirus, according to ISO-Q leaders. This is done in an effort to mitigate any potential for cross-contamination.

There are three different tent categories at the complex: Quarantine, Isolation Symptomatic, and Isolation Confirmed.

Homeless people who've been exposed to the coronavirus but are not exhibiting any symptoms will stay in the Quarantine area. People who are exhibiting symptoms but do not have a confirmed positive test result, or are awaiting test results, will stay in the Isolation Symptomatic zone. Those with confirmed COVID-19 cases will stay in the Isolation Confirmed zone.

“We’re taking in a population that potentially is sick, that potentially may have been exposed to the virus," O'Griofa said. "What we’re looking to do is try and ensure that we don’t expose those that may not have the virus, as much as possible, to those with the virus.”

Each zone, according to O'Griofa, means a different PPE requirement for the medical staff.

“Everybody on-site at an absolute minimum, will be wearing scrubs, will have eye protection, will have a mask," he said. "If you go into a pod there are additional PPE requirements ranging from waterproof aprons – to the COVID-19 positive tests where everyone will be in full surgical gowns and face masks as well.”

The complex can support up to 500 patients. There is security on-site, and staff will provide patients with meals, water, clothing, and a clean bathroom that will constantly be decontaminated, per ISO-Q leaders.

“This particular site is actually the first of its kind in the country. This is a pre-hospital, acute observation site, versus most of the other field hospitals around the country are actually overflow hospitals," O'Griofa said.

The ISO-Q complex was built in the Cashman Center parking lot. Crear explained they intentionally did not build it on the field, in case there is a need for another site to be built for the general public.

“We’re saving the inside of Cashman Field for a potentially ancillary hospital," Crear said. "So, we wanted to make sure we had a space that was dedicated for the homeless.”