April 8, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The temporary hospital being built inside the Billie Jean King Tennis Center — the home of the U.S. Open — will begin seeing coronavirus patients this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The hospital will also be able to see more patients than originally planned. The city increased the number of beds at the center from 350 to 470 beds.
Furthermore, 20 beds have been converted into ICU beds for the most vulnerable patients.
“One of the crucial things again [is] adding additional beds to relieve some of the pressure on our core hospitals,” de Blasio said his daily briefing this morning.
Last week, he said the temporary hospital will serve as a direct overflow facility for the heavily-burdened Elmhurst Hospital.
“This place will be a lifesaving place,” he said from inside the tennis center. “This place will not only help folks inflicted with coronavirus, help them to survive and recover and go home — it is specifically going to help patients who come through Elmhurst Hospital and can receive care here.”
The neighborhoods surrounding Elmhurst Hospital have become the epicenter of the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
Queens overall has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths among the five boroughs — at 25,715 and 1,136 respectively, as of this morning — but the larger Elmhurst area has been particularly hit by the deadly virus.
Corona has the highest number of cases in the city at 1,659 cases, while Elmhurst has 1,142 and Jackson Heights has 916, as of yesterday at 5 p.m.