Georgia officials say they’ll re-activate a major convention center in Atlanta to care for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients as new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations continue to rise in the state.
A memo from Gov. Brian Kemp’s office says the state plans to reopen a pop-up hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center in the coming days “utilizing state-owned assets – hospital beds, medical equipment” obtained by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency earlier this year.
“Over the past two weeks, we have experienced an increase in cases and hospitalizations,” the memo reads. “As Georgia continues to battle the spread of COVID-19, Governor Kemp and state officials are preparing for … hospital surge capacity.”
This comes as Georgia yet again broke a record for new cases in a day with nearly 4,500, surpassing the old daily record by more than 1,000.
Georgia officials also plan to use a new contract with a metro Atlanta hospital to open up 100 overflow and critical care beds. The memo didn’t provide details on where those beds would be located.
The memo was released less than an hour before the Georgia Department of Public Health reported a record number of new coronavirus infections.
Data released Friday afternoon show more than 4,400 COVID-19 cases added to state counts. That tops the previous one-day record by more than 1,000 cases.
Hospitalizations are also growing at a record pace in the state. Georgia Emergency Management Agency has reported more than 100 new hospital admissions each day since Monday. Some regions of the state only have a few critical care beds available.
Still, the memo from Kemp’s office says hospitals aren’t looking to put off elective surgeries, as they did earlier this year to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients.
“There is strong consensus among healthcare facilities that they wish to continue elective procedures to promote Georgians’ health and well-being while avoiding more financial distress and potential furloughs,” it reads.
To date, state officials have linked close to 3,000 deaths to coronavirus infections across Georgia.