Workers are making rapid progress on converting Parc y Scarlets into a temporary hospital to provide extra beds for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contractors have been working tirelessly on site since Monday as they look to complete a project that will see up to 500 beds installed at three separate locations on the stadium site.
The biggest project is being undertaken at the indoor arena training facility, which will house 252 beds. There will also be a hospital area in the Quinnell Lounge in the South Stand and the first floor concourse.
The overflow beds will help to ease the burden on hospitals in West Wales as they deal with the more serious cases of COVID-19. It is anticipated that the work will take approximately another two weeks to complete.
The Scarlets, who are working in partnership with the Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council, will be providing all the catering on site — potentially 1500 meals a day — with the project seeing a number of temporary staff employed.
“Things have progressed very quickly,” said Scarlets general manager of rugby Jon Daniels.
“We are aiming to be close to operational within a couple of weeks. It is a big task and a big challenge, but everyone is pulling in the same direction.
“It is a contingency plan — as with everything with coronavirus, nobody knows how long it is going to last and how bad it could get.
“A lot depends on how vigilant we are in following the guidelines issued by the government and the NHS in terms of isolating ourselves and social distancing. The better we are at following those guidelines, hopefully the less need there will be for facilities such as this.”
Explaining the full scale of the operation, Daniels added: “We are creating somewhere in the region of 400-500 temporary hospital beds.
“We are creating bays with hospital beds, plumbing, electrics, air handling units and also doing the catering for the patients while they are here.
Rapid progress is being made converting three sites in Carmarthenshire into temporary medical provision. It is hoped the sites will be ready within weeks, in time for an anticipated peak demand for beds in May
— Cyngor Sir Gâr | CCC (@CarmsCouncil) March 26, 2020
“Potentially, that could be 1500 meals a day being served, it is a big task. There are four kitchens on site and our trained staff — chefs, sous chefs — will be preparing those meals.
“There are a lot of changes happening at Parc y Scarlets, but we are very lucky to have such an outstanding infrastructure to tap into so that the conversion is as easy as possible.
“We are also relying on the hard work and dedication of a number of people — staff, contractors, council workers, NHS workers — in order to make this happen.”
Daniels added: “Scarlets are steeped in 148 years of history, we have always been part of the community and the community has been part of us. When something comes along like this which is fairly unique, clearly the community needs us.
“We have relied on the support of our community through those 148 years and now we have an opportunity to give something back.
“To our fans, hopefully you are proud of your club and what it is doing and also there is a part of our community which needs to be recognised here and that is all those workers, those warriors within the NHS and other critical services in getting our society through this.
“What we are doing is miniscule compared to the sacrifices that those people are making to get to work, to work long hours and get our community through this.
“It is hard work what we are doing here, but it is an absolute privilege to serve our community in any way we can.”