LA’s Convention Center Has Been Converted Into a Federal Field Hospital

Fascility may house COVID-19 patients with “lower acuity,” whose “symptoms have either relaxed or not gotten intense,” Mayor Eric Garcetti says

Last Updated: March 30, 2020 @ 6:09 PM

The Los Angeles Convention Center is converting into a field hospital to relieve some of the burden on the city’s hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, with 250 beds currently set up for use, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference on Monday.

The changes to the Convention Center began on Sunday when a group of 30 members of the National Guard helped convert the building — which has over 720,000 square feet of exhibition space — into a working field hospital with medical supplies and cots received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Though initial plans were to use the field hospital for non-COVID-19 patients, Garcetti said that it may instead house COVID-19 patients with “lower acuity” whose “symptoms have either relaxed or not gotten intense.”

As for staffing, Garcetti said that medical volunteers would be called upon and that the city has requested the Department of Defense to assist with the field hospital.

“We’re doing an all-hands call,” Garcetti said. “We have over 3,000 … medical professionals who have volunteered to help. We’re going to draw from that.”

In addition to the convention center, the USNS Mercy hospital ship — which arrived in L.A. last week — is also beginning to accept patients and has 1,000 hospital beds available. Meanwhile, L.A. residents are still under a “safer at home” order, alongside a statewide “stay at home” order, that prevents them from leaving their homes unless for essential activities.

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