Several months into the pandemic and the field hospital at the Miami Beach Convention Center remains empty.
The site was designed to treat COVID-19 patients. Instead the facility will provide area hospitals with hospital beds and medical staff if needed.
“Over the past several months, the state has worked continuously with local officials to monitor the need for resources to support area hospitals. Our primary support strategy is to surge staff into existing facilities – opening up additional capacity in those hospitals," state emergency officials told NBC 6.
The field hospital was built by the Army Corps. of Engineers in April. The project cost $22.5 million and included 450 hospital beds and 50 intensive care units.
The state is paying $228,750 a month to lease the convention center space. The current lease expires in early September.
NBC 6 has learned county officials expressed concerns to state officials about the field hospital accepting patients because the convention center is an a hurricane evacuation zone.
Hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are nearing ICU capacity, but officials say they have space to add beds. The issue is staffing them.
“Can we withstand this for another 3-5 weeks? Yes, but we can’t do this forever,” Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya told county commissioners on Wednesday.
The National Guard has been called back to the field hospital to help with requests from hospitals.