Baltimore, MD - Mar. 24, 2020 - As part of the state's plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Larry Hogan's team will be transforming the Baltimore Convention Center and the neighboring Hilton hotel into field hospitals.
The field hospitals are part of the governor's hospital-surge plan he announced Monday morning. He said there are currently 900 beds available, and he expects 1,400 more to come in the next month.
"Plans are underway as we speak to establish a field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center as and an alternate care site and at the adjacent Hilton Hotel in Baltimore City," Hogan said.
The Maryland National Guard is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to turn the buildings into temporary medical facilities.
"These will be operated through a joint partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins," Hogan said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will deliver 250 hospital beds and 50 bed packages to support the initiative.
The shortage of hospital beds is a concern. The Greater Baltimore Medical Center told 11 News that its emergency department volume is lower than usual during this time of year. So far, GBMC is treating four coronavirus patients -- one remains in the hospital and the others are at home. GBMC has conducted 296 tests, 58 returned negative and 174 tests are pending.
"The truth is none of us really know how bad it is going to get or how long it's going to last," Hogan said.
Live Baltimore issued a statement saying, in part: "It's inspiring to see our city and state working together like this."
Peggy Daidakis, executive director of the Baltimore Convention Center sent a statement to 11 News, saying: "The center has been designated as an 'alternative care' facility by Gov. Hogan. When conditions necessitate and additional hospital beds are needed, the Baltimore Convention Center will host these alternative care units under the direction of the University of Maryland Medical Services and Johns Hopkins in partnership with state and local government including Mayor (Jack) Young's team. To be prepared for all scenarios, the center will be receiving freight in the coming days to support alternative care operations, but that does not mean those services are imminent. From this moment and until further notice, the facility is closed to the general public. We stand ready, when needed, to in this effort. We commend Gov. Hogan and his team for taking swift and decisive action to slow the spread of COVID-19."