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Prime gives CoxHealth $700K for COVID-19 costs

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CoxHealth yesterday announced a $700,000 donation from trucking company Prime Inc.

The funds cover construction costs of the recently completed COVID-19 unit on the fifth floor of Cox South's tower. In a news release, CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards said costs for the unit were kept at a minimum with partially donated labor and supplies, but $700,000 in expenses remained.

"Then came Prime Inc. to make up the difference," he said in the release. "I suspect that, for the rest of my life, every time I see a Prime truck rolling down the highway, I will reflect with gratitude for what they did for our community during this time of national crisis."

CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said the donation reimburses the health care system for costs incurred during the construction project. J.E. Dunn Construction Co. led the work to create the 51-bed unit with some 20 subcontractors and 12 suppliers, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The unit was completed April 9, on time with a swift two-week schedule.

McConnell said that so far, the unit has gone unused. It's designed to care for COVID-19 patients should space run out in the hospital's other critical care areas, she said.

CoxHealth currently has five positive inpatient cases, McConnell said. That's down from eight identified by Edwards via Twitter on April 13.

Prime CEO Robert Low, who with his wife, Lawana, directed the donation on behalf of Prime, said the funds represented a chance for one essential business to help another amid local, state and national stay-at-home orders.

“During this chaotic time, it’s important to come together as a community," he said in the release. "We are all in this together. We will persevere and defeat this virus."

Separately announced this week, CoxHealth is joining a national clinical trial initiated by the Mayo Clinic.

The trial is designed to determine how convalescent plasma may treat patients with COVID-19 diagnoses, according to a news release.

“Given how early we are in this process, projected outcomes aren’t proven, but we are hopeful that we will see successful treatment for COVID-19 as we have with other viral diseases,” said Dr. Anne Hayes, a pathologist at CoxHealth, in the release. "We hope that what we learn through these trials will help us develop treatment protocols to make a big difference in the months ahead."

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