The Miami Beach Convention Center will accept coronavirus patients when it's converted into a field hospital, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will transform the newly renovated facility into a hospital by the last week of April.
DeSantis said 184 National Guard medical staffers will work at the hospital, which would open with 400 beds and another 50 intensive care beds.
"This will provide a lot of resources should the need arise to be able to care for patients," DeSantis said at a news conference at the facility Wednesday.
DeSantis said the facility will be able to scale up to 1,000 beds, and unlike other field hospitals around the country, will accept COVID-19 patients.
"If somebody has it, this facility is going to be able to accommodate that," DeSantis said.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the decision to install 450 preliminary beds in the center was made in order to prepare the city for the worst case scenario. “It will sit vacant hopefully until it is dismantled,” Gelber said.
In late March, the state built a 250-bed medical tent in a Miami-Dade park to handle possible overflow patients. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that tent would likely remain empty as well.
"We have to have it just in case we do need it," Gimenez said of the Miami Beach facility.
DeSantis said Wednesday that the state had 43 percent of its hospital beds available.
"We want to make sure that the healthcare system can absorb what this virus is portending for our communities," he said.
Army Corps Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite said the site is modeled after the field hospital at the Javits Center in New York.
“This is a hard build. This is probably a three week build. We don’t have three weeks," Semonite said.