MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The first U.S. Army field hospital for civilian patients opened in New York City Monday and could be the first of many across the nation as it struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.

The field hospital at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan is meant to handle non-COVID-19 patients to help free up space in hospitals in the city to boost their fight against the new coronavirus, CBS News reported. Initially, the field hospital will have about 1,000 beds and will expand to 3,000 beds by next week. It could provide a template for the rest of the nation, according to Army Chief of Staff General James McConville.

“Army Corps of Engineers are in every single state. They are working with the state and local officials. They’ve done 181 assessments of preexisting facilities like this, so we can rapidly stand up hospitals and we’re working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and FEMA’s the one who’s providing all this type of equipment,” McConville told CBS This Morning. The potential facilities include arenas and hotels.

“The intent is to quickly turn them into some type of health care facilities to give the states options,” McConville said. “To give them additional capacity in their states.”

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