Palm Beach County officials on Wednesday afternoon announced plans to establish a field hospital at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach, in case of a surge of coronavirus patients at local hospitals.
In a written statement, Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson said:
“Palm Beach County has to take into consideration many possible scenarios in response to emergencies. Some of these responses require days of planning and setup and this requires us to implement a plan even before it is apparent that there is a need. This is a normal occurrence in emergency management and does not guarantee these worst case scenarios will come to pass.”
A county spokesperson added, “this hospital will be set up in case there is a significant surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” and it will “take pressure off of local hospitals that have a surge of incoming patients.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Miami Beach Convention Center is also be turned into a field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.
“This will provide a lot of resources, should need arise, to care for patients,” DeSantis said.
Palm Beach County officials added that once they finalize a decision to open a field hospital at the South Florida Fairgrounds, the public will be notified.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 1,206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County.
In addition, 211 people in the county have been hospitalized because of the virus, and 69 have died.