Army Corps of Engineers to convert DC convention center into makeshift hospital

Army Corps of Engineers to convert DC convention center into makeshift hospital
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The Army Corps of Engineers is set to build a makeshift hospital in the nation's capital to help with the coronavirus efforts.

The Corps will transform the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington into a 500- to 1,500-bed hospital, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the head of the Corps, told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday.

"I think [D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser] was concerned," Semonite said. "We're watching the number [of cases]."

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Bowser confirmed the project in a press conference earlier on Friday, saying that the hospital will be used for coronavirus patients in a "worst-case scenario,” but the goal is “to never have to use the convention center."

Bowser said the Army Corps of Engineers will begin to set up the convention center as a hospital on Monday, with 500 non-intensive care beds available by the first week of May.

The Army Corps of Engineers is in the midst of building 28 makeshift hospital sites across the country — up from 17 over a week ago — transforming hotels, sports arenas, convention centers, college dormitories and fairgrounds into medical facilities that could either accept patients who have contracted COVID-19 or treat people not infected with the coronavirus in order to free up overwhelmed hospitals.

The D.C. project is expected to cost upward of $18.6 million and be completed by May 30, according to a Pentagon contract announcement on Thursday.