Broward County sets up field hospital to handle coronavirus patient overflow in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County is setting up a military-style field hospital in Fort Lauderdale to handle the overflow of coronavirus patients, government officials said.

As the number of COVID-19 cases keeps increasing across the state, so does the need for space in order to treat patients who become ill.

Jared Moskowitz, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, confirmed work is underway in Fort Lauderdale to build a field hospital to treat patients who may need immediate assistance.

“We have four 250-person mobile field hospitals. One of them is actually being set up right here in Broward County right now,” said Moskowitz at a news conference held alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Thursday afternoon.

Hours earlier, 7News cameras captured several trucks driving into a large parking lot on Commercial Boulevard, near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, with supplies to help crews set up tents on the site.

During a phone call earlier on Thursday, Moskowitz explained why the field hospitals are being set up.

“The purpose of that is, if we lose a couple of floors in a hospital or we lose a whole hospital, I can help prop up that hospital with a field hospital,” Moskowitz said, “or, if it bursts at the seams, I can give them beds to increase capacity, so we can do that as well.”

State leaders had previously mentioned one of the three field hospital sites throughout Florida would be in Fort Lauderdale.

The facility is expected to contain 250 beds.

“Additionally, we have secured 100 nurses that are standing by, that we are paying for every day so that we can surge into a hospital or help us run a field hospital,” said Moskowitz.

The other two pop-up hospitals will be located near Orlando and Ocala.

State leaders said they hope these emergency efforts can provide the treatment that many in the state urgently need.

“We are also looking at using our ports, potentially, and bringing in certain sorts of ships to expand bed capacity if that becomes necessary,” said Moskowitz.

It remains unknown when state leaders will staff the site, when the setup will be completed or how they plan to use it.

It is also unclear when patients suffering from the coronavirus who haven’t been accepted by local hospitals will be taken in.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.