The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, will be converted into a makeshift hospital as New York City strives to increase hospital capacity by 87,000 beds as the health care system is stressed by the spread of COVID-19. The immediate plan is for the beds to be used to care for non-COVID-19 patients.
Chris Widmaier, Managing Director of Corporate Communications at the United States Tennis Association, confirmed that construction to convert an indoor training area into a 350-bed medical facility is expected to begin on Tuesday. Louis Armstrong Stadium will also be converted into a commissary that prepares 25,000 meal packages each day for COVID-19 patients, medical workers and others in need.
“We’re here to help and if our site in Queens is utilized to help New Yorkers, we’re all for it,” Widmaier said to the New York Post.
New York City is considered to be the current epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S., with more than 38,000 of the 140,904 confirmed cases in the country as of 30 March.