A field hospital that was initially scheduled to open at the end of April inside the Miami Beach Convention Center will actually be completed by Monday, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
U.S. Army Col. Drew Kelly is charge of turning the convention center into a 450-bed hospital in under 14 days.
His deadline was pushed forward to Monday when the COVID-19 peak projections changed. Hundreds of skilled construction workers are working around the clock in order to convert the building.
In addition to bringing in hospital beds, the Army Corps of Engineers is building pressurized ICU pods and installing a large oxygen tank, and having to do it all in record time.
Typically, they engineer and plan every step of the process far ahead of construction time.
“But on this one, we were literally making a decision real time at four o’clock in the morning, to then — as the crew is standing there saying, ‘OK, here is how we’re going to do it,’” Kelly says. “We make the decision and keep moving. It’s been a total team effort with one goal, and that’s get it done on time.”
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will hand over the site to the Florida National Guard when it is completed.
Medical teams from the National Guard will treat coronavirus patients at the Miami Beach site, as well as overflow patients if area hospitals become overwhelmed.
Miami-Dade County is the state’s virus hotspot, with more than 9,000 cases and 202 deaths as of Sunday morning.