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Baltimore Convention Center field hospital, with 250 beds, is set to open Monday

The Maryland National Guard begins to set up a 250 bed field hospital in the Baltimore Convention Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital is set to open Monday and begin accepting patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 250-bed makeshift hospital has been under construction for a little more than a month, after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan set a goal of adding 6,000 hospital beds statewide in response to the pandemic, to help hospitals from being overwhelmed.

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The hospital is being operated by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is not an intensive care unit or a testing facility, but it is set up to treat patients who are recovering from COVID-19 and still need direct medical attention.

No direct admissions can be made to the field hospital, so most patients will be transported to the field hospital through the emergency department inter-facility referrals.

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Patients at the field hospital will mostly come from Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins Hospital Bayview Medical Center and the University of Maryland Medical Center Downtown and Midtown campuses. The hospital also plans to expand capacity to allow patients from other hospitals.

About 100,000 square feet of the 1.2 million-square-foot convention center will be dedicated to the hospital, which is designed in accordance with federal guidelines and then adapted for the convention center’s unique space, officials said.

“Opening this field hospital is a major victory in the fight against COVID-19 and one of our administration’s top priorities since day one of this crisis,” Hogan said in a news release. “I want to thank all the frontline health care workers and our partners at the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins Medicine for making this pivotal health care facility a reality for Baltimore City and area hospitals. We are in this together and will get through this together.”

More than 1,000 medical professionals were hired to staff the hospital, ensuring that staffing levels at the local hospitals are not reduced.

“Now more than ever, we need to set aside competitive differences to put the health and well-being of the people of Maryland first,” Johns Hopkins Health System President Kevin Sowers said. “Partnering on this endeavor strengthens our collective ability to care for COVID-19-positive patients in Maryland while simultaneously ensuring our capacity to continue to care for the broader health care needs of our community.”

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