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Dallas Convention Center Transforming Into Temporary Hospital For Coronavirus Patients

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With no conventions to host and plenty of space to offer, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will soon be home to the first temporary medical facility in Texas created to help with the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.

This past weekend, trucks arrived carrying supplies for the makeshift hospital.

Tuesday, the National Guard is expected to begin set-up.

The Army Corps of Engineers will help with layout and logistics.

The Navy will provide doctors, nurses, and medics to staff the facility.

Dallas County says it could be up and ready to go as soon as Friday.

County Judge Clay Jenkins will make the call on when to open the facility with 250 beds to start and room for many more.

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas (CBS 11)

In the past the convention center has served as a shelter for the homeless on freezing cold nights and for thousands of evacuees escaping the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

It's not yet been decided who it will hold now.

The goal will be to maximize space at local hospitals for the most critical patients.

The convention center, Judge Jenkins said, could be a step-down unit for COVID-19 patients recovering from the virus. It might also house patients that do not have the virus to make room at hospitals for those who do.

Dallas County says, when all is done, it may be asked to cover a quarter of the cost to run the medical facility. Jenkins, though, says saving money isn't a priority right now.

"You know how cheap I am. I get upset about the cost of pens, but we're going to spend whatever money is necessary to make sure people are safe."

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