DALLAS, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott has identified the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, as the state's first pop-up hospital, or Alternative Care Site, for COVID-19 patients in the event the patient and hospitalization numbers surge beyond the current capacity.
Abbott, during a press conference on Sunday afternoon, said the state has identified more than 16,000 hospital beds which are available for COVID-19 patients at current hospital facilities statewide — which he says will continue to be the primary location for care.
Of the state's 2,552 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as of Sunday, March 29, 2020, he says only 176 are hospitalized.
"Our job is not to simply make assessments of where we are today and be satisfied with that," stated Abbott, "Instead, our job is to make sure that we are looking, one, two, three, and four weeks ahead and make sure that Texas is going to be prepared to meet the needs of your communities if COVID-19 continues to increase across the state of Texas."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Texas National Guard will begin deploying resources already onsite at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to make available 250 hospital beds in the event of hospital overflow. The facility will have the capacity to expand to 1,400 beds, if needed.
Four other locations have been identified in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as possible Alternative Care Sites and state officials have been working to identify similar facilities throughout the state.
The convention center was already playing host to many of the Dallas' homeless after social-distancing guidelines reduced the homeless bed counts at other facilities. Both the homeless shelter and pop-up hospital will be housed at the center and will be partitioned from each other, according to state officials.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Sunday, March 29, 2020, at 11:30 a.m., there had been 25,483 COVID-19 tests administered, 2,552 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, and 34 COVID-19-related deaths reported in 118 of Texas' 254 counties.