With a surge in coronavirus cases in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has announced the Georgia World Congress Center's temporary hospital site will reopen on Monday, Aug. 3. The temporary campus closed in May when the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations leveled off.
"As part of our strategic plan to expand surge capacity in Georgia, we are re-opening the Georgia World Congress Center," Kemp said in a statement released Friday morning. "These additional hospital beds will provide relief to surrounding healthcare facilities while providing top-notch care for patients. My administration is laser-focused on expanding hospital surge capacity while working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia."
The GWCC facility has a total capacity of 120 beds; for now, the facility will hold an initial surge of 60 beds and will increase based on needs.
Kemp said Grady Memorial Hospital will serve as the lead hospital for clinical oversight of the GWCC facility. The temporary set-up will also have the staffing and equipment necessary to treat a higher level of acuity in patients than the previous configuration during the months of May and June, enabling hospitals to focus their staff and resources on the most critical patients in their facilities.
Kemp also said, to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers can quickly identify hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 patients anywhere in Georgia, the state is partnering with Grady Health System to expand and renew the existing Regional Coordinating Center (RCC) as the Georgia Coordinating Center (GCC).
The Regional Coordinating Center (RCC) was established in December of 2019 to manage the placement of ambulance-transported patients after an internal flood at Grady left the hospital unable to handle its usual number of ambulance arrivals. Earlier this year, the center took on the additional responsibility of coordinating transfers to the temporary hospital established by the state at the Georgia World Congress Center.
"By leveraging an existing partnership with Grady Health System, the Georgia Coordinating Center will allow hospitals to use real-time, statewide information to ensure their patients receive the care they need," Kemp said.
Grady developed a web-based platform for hospitals across the state to view and report critical information, including current diversion status and bed availability. The website allows hospitals and EMS to make better, coordinated decisions about patient transports.