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El Paso Convention Center to be converted into makeshift hospital, feds sending aid due to virus surge

EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Convention Center downtown will be converted into an auxiliary hospital of up to 100 beds to deal with a massive surge in Covid-19 patients needing medical care and federal assistance will also be coming to El Paso, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday.

The governor said the Texas Department of Emergency Management would lead the medical conversion of the convention facility, which is aimed at expanding hospital capacity locally.

"Opening this week, the alternate care site will be located at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center and have a capacity of 50 beds and can expand to 100 beds if needed," said a statement from the governor's office.

Abbott said the state has already sent 900 doctors, nurses and other medical staff to El Paso, some of which will be utilized to staff the convention center hospital.

In addition, Abbott said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be deploying two 35-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, a Trauma Critical Care Team and Emergency Coordinators to El Paso this week.

These latest announcements from Abbott come just a day after he made a request to the federal government to use the old William Beaumont Army hospital to house non-Covid patients. It also comes after a plan by El Paso's hospitals to airlift some patients to hospitals elsewhere in the state due to the lack of bed space.

Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 reached a record 786 patients in El Paso on Sunday, up from 259 in less than three weeks— which is a 300% increase, health officials said.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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