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Miami Beach Convention Center to be converted into alternate care facility

Newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center being converted into field hospital due to coronavirus pandemic
Newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center being converted into field hospital due to coronavirus pandemic

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The newly remodeled Miami Beach Convention Center, most recently a site for Super Bowl activities, will now become what officials are calling an alternate care facility.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday they've been working with the Army Corps of Engineers for the last couple weeks.

“This is going to be a facility that will accept the COVID patients,” DeSantis said.

A total of 450 hospital beds will be set up at the location to potentially treat COVID-19 patients. Of those, 50 will be for patients who need intensive care.

The 500,000 square foot facility will be run by 180 members of Florida’s National Guard Medical Team.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said his hope is that these field hospitals are never used.

"It's going to be inside the convention center. I actually think it makes sense to do that. If you have that space, wide open space already with air conditioning and bathroom facilities, I think it makes sense to move it inside. So I'm supportive of that," he said.

That sentiment was repeated by DeSantis.

“I would much rather be prepared for the worse and the worse not come here than not be prepared,” he said.

Hospital patient capacity locally, and across the state, remains below 50%.

Florida – 43%

Miami-Dade County – 43%

Broward County – 46%

Palm Beach County – 49%

The convention center would be the third field hospital in South Florida to be ready for the possibility of a patient influx.

Last month, we saw tents go up at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition.

Originally designed for livestock, part of it is now a kitchen.

The rest will be used as a 252-bed field hospital at Tamiami Park.

The facility will be used for patients referred by hospitals that are at capacity.

In mid-March, we also saw Broward County start building its first field hospital at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

Active members of the military helped build the facility, which will have around 250 beds once it’s operational.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.