TODAY: New Orleans Convention Center accepting COVID-19 patients

Convention Center to accept COVID patients Monday

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The Morial Convention Center will begin accepting COVID-19 patients Monday.

Over the past several days, crews have turned the convention center into a field hospital to help reduce the stress on area hospitals.

State leaders and the Louisiana Department of Health conducted a media tour through the facility over the weekend where some of the massive halls usually reserved for expo’s or festivals are now lined with over a thousand tents along with medical staging areas for nurses and doctors.

But on top of the field hospital inside the convention center, a naval medical team will also oversee dozens of temporary housing units just outside.

Those units will house patients who are showing COVID-19 symptoms but haven’t gotten back their test results.

Meanwhile, all the patients inside will have already tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Joseph Kanter with the state health department says it’s important to note that this field hospital will not accept walk-ins and is only intended for those who are deemed the less sick of the sick, but not quite ready to return home.

Hospital beds in Louisiana are expected to reach capacity this week which is why Kanter says the timing of this opening is so important.

Kanter also warns that this pandemic will still likely get worse before it gets better and unfortunately things like gowns, gloves and masks are still on short supply at the new facility just as they are at most hospitals around the state.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.