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‘Surge beds’: Virus patients to be sent to giant Georgia convention center

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‘Surge beds’: Virus patients to be sent to giant Georgia convention center

One room at a massive temporary hospital is shown at the Georgia World Congress Center in April in Atlanta. [AP Photo/Ron Harris, pool] Ron Harris Hide caption ATLANTA — One of the nation’s largest convention centers will reopen on Monday with “surge beds” to treat COVID-19 patients as critical care units across Georgia remain nearly full, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.

The Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta will begin receiving patients Monday with 60 beds initially and increase to 120 beds if needed, the Republican governor said.

“These additional hospital beds will provide relief to surrounding healthcare facilities while providing top notch care for patients,” Kemp said in a statement.

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said the facility would be able to take care of sicker patients than when 200 beds were initially set up in part of the mammoth convention center in April and then later dismantled after caring for only a handful of recovering patients who needed low levels of care. New capabilities will include administering oxygen and medication drips to patients. Hall also said staffing will “reflect the level of need for patients that we are seeing.”

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The state’s remaining 80-bed temporary facility at Milledgeville will not open for now, Hall said. Georgia has also deployed smaller pods to hospitals in Rome, Gainesville, Macon and Albany.

Reopening the convention center comes as Georgia hospitals have been voicing concerns about bed space with the surge of cases.

The 3,200 people in hospitals on Thursday was a record since the pandemic began, and critical care beds statewide are 87% full. Two of the state’s smaller hospital regions — one around Athens and one […]

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