ACS Sites

Alternate Care Sites (ACS): Their Rise & How They Help Medical Professionals Face Covid-19

About Alternate Care Sites (ACS)

The spike in Covid-19 patients across the nation has resulted in professionals across the medical industry seeking alternative ways to safely work and care for patients. This has led to the development of  Alternate Care Sites, which are facilities used for temporary healthcare by hospitals and medical staff to aid during public health emergencies. In this case, these facilities are being used to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These Alternate Care Sites are made up of medical units and medical tents that would ideally help hospitals manage an over influx of COVID-19 patients. The implementation process in the United States has consisted of convention centers, arenas and hotels turned into Alternate Care Sites with a vast number of medical units for treating patients.  An example is McCormick’s Place, a convention center in Chicago that was turned into an ACS, or medical field hospital. This process is facilitated through the assistance of the US Army Corps of Engineers (ASACE) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

The implementation process comprises identifying potential locations, securing funding, and the location to then converting the site in order to ensure that it is ready for healthcare use. Several steps are taken for proper conversion to better create an ICU-like space, including flooring, installing nurses’ stations, setting up individualized medical units, and supplying power. 

Medical Units- Negative Pressure Tents

The patient pods are separated and built by patient conditions, being COVID-positive, presumed positive/testing, non-Covid, etc. and sorted by criticality diagnosed. The COVID-positive pods require negative pressure pods, similarly referred to as “patient isolation tents.”

In an effort to help with the healthcare crisis, Ins’Tent designed a Negative Pressure Tent that meets all ACS requirements for a Covid-19 acute isolation unit.

Negative Pressure Tent
Negative Pressure Tent by Ins’Tent

The tent features extra-long, custom size walls to guarantee a securely enclosed tent, heavy-duty zippers to safeguard inside air, a special ventilation duct beside a wall to control air pressure and a vision window on a wall with a door for staff accessibility to inside the tent. This tent design meets healthcare requirements provided by the USACE as well as general facility NFPA 701 standards.

With an unpredictable influx of patient care needs and a desire to prevent and control panic and under-preparedness, solutions like Negative Pressure Tents and Alternate Care Sites provide ease of practice to overwhelmed healthcare professionals and establishments.


Information on ACS standards and procedures gathered from official USACE documentation.

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