Officials set up backup temporary hospitals for overflow of COVID-19 patients

Officials prepare for more COVID-19 patients

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Florida Division of Emergency Management is the government agency charged with ensuring that the state is prepared to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Jared Moskowitz, 39, as the director of the agency last year, and this week he was faced with the most challenging mission of his life. He is working on putting together temporary hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.

“That will become available if it becomes necessary,” Moskowitz said about the temporary hospital being set up at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. “We have another one being set up near The Villages and the other two are being propositioned near Orlando.”

In his short career, Moskowitz has already participated in recovery efforts after Hurricanes Irma, Matthew, Michael and Hermine. He also responded to the 2017 wildfires in California and to Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The temporary hospital in Fort Lauderdale will house roughly 250 beds to deal with the overflow from hospitals, where emergency rooms are being inundated with concerned patients.

The Fort lauderdale Police Department is also setting up a command post at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The temporary facility will also have large trailers that will serve as resting quarters for nurses and doctors.

Public health officials said that as the availability of testing increases, so will the number of COVID-19 patients. On Thursday night, the Florida Department of Health reported the Centers for Disease Control and Protection confirmed 101 cases in Miami-Dade County and 96 cases in Broward County.

Officials announced a COVID-19 patient died in Duval County raising the number of deaths in Florida to nine.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.