Georgia governor reopens coronavirus field hospital at Atlanta convention center

By | July 11, 2020

One room at a temporary hospital is viewed at the Georgia World Congress Center, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia.

Ron Harris | Pool | AP

Georgia is planning to reopen a field hospital at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center as the state struggles with increasing hospitalizations and a record-breaking number of new Covid-19 cases, according to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office.

The convention center first turned one of its exhibit halls into a 200-bed makeshift alternative care facility in April, but officials closed the facility in May. The state has since reported record-breaking jumps in additional new Covid-19 cases since mid-June.

According to a release from Kemp’s office, the facility will use state-owned equipment, such as hospital beds and medical equipment, procured through the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency earlier this year.

The state first plans to “leverage a new contract for enhanced bed capacity with a metro-Atlanta area hospital” before using the center, according to the release. 

“Over the past two weeks, we have experienced an increase in cases and hospitalizations, and following a drop-off in specimens collected over the holiday weekend, we now expect a trend of higher case numbers as new results arrive,” according to a release from Kemp’s office. 

The need for additional space could be a sign of a worsening outbreak in Georgia, which was the first state to begin reopening its economy in late April

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 4,484 new cases Friday, a record-breaking daily tally. Most of the state’s cases are being reported in four counties in the greater Atlanta area.

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There were more than 2,300 people in the state’s hospitals with Covid-19 as of Thursday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic. 

The state has reported a 43% increase in its number of hospitalizations, based on a seven-day average, compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of the data. 

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