Georgia to reopen makeshift hospital at World Congress Center

Credit: Curtis Compton,

Credit: Curtis Compton,

As the soaring number of coronavirus cases strains the state’s hospital network, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday health officials would reopen a makeshift medical facility at the Georgia World Congress Center in the coming week.

The temporary hospital at the sprawling convention center will initially house 60 beds, but can double its capacity if necessary. The state also announced it will expand a $1.2 million arrangement with Grady Memorial Hospital to coordinate care for the state’s COVID-19 patients.

Kemp issued plans earlier this month to re-start the facility at the convention center, which was opened in April and shuttered a month later, to cope with rising numbers of coronavirus cases. His office said it would help hospital systems avoid canceling money-making elective surgeries crucial to their bottom lines.

It was a sign of Georgia’s worsening struggle to contain the spread of the disease that’s infected more than 180,000 residents and killed at least 3,600. State data shows nearly 90% of critical care beds are now in use, and some regions reported as few as one unit still available.