US Open complex, more NYC hotels to be converted into hospitals

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said the city was coordinating with the Army Corps of Engineers

TRD New York /
Mar.March 31, 2020 11:15 AM
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (Credit: Ron Adar / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images; Ajay Suresh via Wikipedia Commons)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (Credit: Ron Adar / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images; Ajay Suresh via Wikipedia Commons)

As it continues to search for real estate that can be converted to medical facilities to ease the burden on hospitals caused by coronavirus, the city is set to lease thousands of hotel rooms — and in some cases, entire hotels.

City, state and federal authorities are working to rent hotel rooms to serve as non-intensive care facilities for Covid-19 patients and others, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. The mayor discussed the conversion process with the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday.

“They have really simple things they do to flip a switch, basically, and turn a hotel into a hospital,” said de Blasio. “We’re going to be doing that to the tune of thousands and thousands of rooms.”

Elsewhere, construction on a 350-bed field hospital at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens — which hosts the U.S. Open — is set to begin Tuesday. A 1,000-bed navy hospital ship, the U.S.N.S. Comfort, arrived in New York on Monday, and a 68-bed hospital in Central Park will soon begin accepting patients.

De Blasio did not detail a timeline or costs for the hotel conversion process. The city has 20,000 hospital beds at present, but expects to need three times as many as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise. [NYDN] — Kevin Sun


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