Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens to become temporary hospital for coronavirus patients

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the United States Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens will become a temporary hospital as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb

News 12 Staff

Apr 1, 2020, 1:58 AM

Updated 1,472 days ago

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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the United States Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens will become a temporary hospital as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb.
The 12 tennis courts at the sports complex will soon hold 350 hospital beds. De Blasio and other officials toured the site Tuesday in preparation.
The nearby Louis Armstrong Stadium is also preparing to distribute up to 25,000 packages of meals for patients, workers and children.
The goal is to relieve pressure from NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, which staff say is overburdened with patients.

"I've practiced emergency medicine for a long time and I'm seeing things that I could have never imagined in terms of what this virus can do to all ages, people who are previously healthy, people with comorbidities. This space is exactly what we need,” says NYC Health + Hospitals Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Eric Wei. “We need to look outside of the four walls of our hospitals. Not just tents in front of our hospitals, but where they can take admitted patients."

The mayor says this is part of the an effort to prepare the city for when the virus is expected to hit its apex.
Before the changes made during the coronavirus outbreak, the city had 20,000 staffed hospital beds across private and public hospitals. Officials say they want to triple that number in the next few weeks.
De Blasio says he continues to look at sites such as hotels and other venues. He say he has not been turned down by any venue he has asked so far.
He adds that it will take about three weeks for the hospital site to be built on the sports complex.
The U.S. Tennis Association says it is concentrating on the emergency situation for now, but they still plan to hold the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament at the end of August.


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