New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center should be gearing up to host the annual New York Auto Show right about now, but instead it was announced yesterday that that facility will be turned into a makeshift hospital, as coronavirus patients threaten to overwhelm NYC's healthcare system.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the 1.8-million-square-foot facility yesterday, and made the announcement at a press conference on site. In place of the automaker stages and vehicle turntables, the show floor will become home to four 250-bed hospital units, constructed by FEMA. Each will cover 40,000 square feet and be staffed by federal medical professionals. Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers is working on a fifth hospital site within the facility to add another 1,000 beds.
New York has been one of the hardest-hit states by the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to the Javits Center, the state is looking to set up temporary hospitals in Westchester County's convention center and at two state university campuses on Long Island.
The Javits Center makeshift hospital is expected to begin receiving patients at the beginning of April, or right about the time the New York Auto Show had been scheduled to open. Instead, the NYIAS has been postponed until late August. Here's hoping that by that point, the Javits Center will be able to return to its more traditional uses.