ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands National Guard is working with the government of the Virgin Islands and federal partners to convert the 210th Regional Training Institute at the Estate Bethlehem military compound to an alternate care facility (ACF) for COVID-19 patients.Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., Brig. Gen. Kodjo Knox-Limbacker, the adjutant general of the Virgin Islands National Guard, and Col. Daniel Hibner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District commander, discussed the plan to convert a portion of the institute for the temporary care of patients at a news conference at the facility April 21.“We have a team of professionals from the Corps of Engineers dedicated to converting these barracks into a treatment facility as quickly as possible in order to meet needs of the peak demand,” said Hibner.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began assessing the RTI facility in March as part of a national effort to evaluate sites to serve as ACF during the COVID-19 pandemic.Knox-Limbacker signed the supplemental lease agreement for the 210th RTI on April 17. The build-out is to be completed by May 5 to serve up to 46 acute COVID-19 patients.“The safety of our servicemen and women, DoD employees, contract workers, retirees, and families are our utmost priority and will not interfere with the Department of Health’s COVID-19 operations,” said Knox-Limbacker.As part of an approved Federal Emergency Management Agency mission, members of the Guard have also helped screen passengers arriving at the airports and conducted public safety announcements at beaches since April 2.Also, on St. Thomas, construction is underway to add 50 beds to the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital with negative pressure rooms. The project is a joint responsibility of the local and federal governments, with the federal government paying 75 percent of the cost.“We are very optimistic about this project,” said Justa Encarnacion, commissioner for the VI Department of Health. “Today’s tour allowed us to ensure the community’s health care needs will be met. This facility will serve as an extra measure to increase capacity in our COVID-19 response efforts.”For more National Guard news: Guard Facebook: Guard Twitter: Guard COVID-19 Response: (COVID-19): from the CDC: Response: