ATLANTIC CITY (March 25, 2020) – The Atlantic City Convention Center will be one of four locations throughout the state to host a field hospital amid COVID-19 concerns, state officials said Tuesday.
The Atlantic City Convention Center will house a Federal Emergency Management Agency hospital, State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said during a daily briefing on the new coronavirus hosted by Gov. Phil Murphy and other state officials.
Mayor Marty Small Sr. said the field site will become the primary hospital for non-COVID-19 patients. The mayor said the Convention Center hospital has no relation to his request for a mobile testing site at Bader Field.
Small said that at the moment, there is no clear timetable for when the hospital might be operational but added, “It will be soon, very soon.”
Small, who has been posting regular updates via social media about the local response to the new coronavirus, emphasized the seriousness of the pandemic.
“If this doesn’t wake us up, I don’t know what will,” Small said. “The federal government is putting resources in Atlantic City for a reason.” He later added, “I’m not trying to scare anyone. But it’s my job to protect the health, safety and well-being of the people of Atlantic City.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers toured the Atlantic City Convention Center on Monday, said Matt Doherty, executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees both the Convention Center and Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
Doherty said he was informed of the governor’s choice of the Convention Center as a field hospital shortly before Tuesday’s announcement and could not provide additional details.
A public affairs representative with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District office could not offer additional information.
Other statewide locations for field hospitals include the Meadowlands, the Convention Center in Edison and an Urban Search and Rescue Facility with a location to be determined and more details forthcoming, officials said Tuesday.