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A Pandemic Field Hospital: By The Numbers

With space running out in hospitals, here’s a look at what it took to turn the Miami Convention Center into a pop-up health care unit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments set up temporary field hospitals to provide additional hospital beds for patients. Called Alternate Care Sites, facilities are converted for healthcare use during a public health emergency.

Around the United States, field hospitals were approved to be set up to reduce the burden on hospitals and established medical facilities during this pandemic, including at the Javits Center in New York City, the university facilities at Stony Brook University and SUNY College at Old Westbury and many other locations.

In Florida, the Miami Beach Convention Center was transformed to treat hundreds of patients.

To help prepare the facility, we upgraded the building management system to make improvements like the building’s circulation of fresh air. We also updated the security system’s access controls to regulate restricted areas.

Here is a breakdown of key numbers at the Miami Beach Convention Center field hospital.

1.4 million square feet – Total size of the Convention Center 

250,000 square feet – Space for the hospital area in the Convention Center

450 care pods – Set up to treat patients

50 intensive care pods – Sized 15-feet by 15-feet for negative-pressure intensive care units, which is a technique to avoid contamination between spaces

250+ workers – Prepared the site, working 12-hour shifts

12 days – Time to transform the Miami Beach Convention Center into an alternate care site

Sources: Miami Beach Convention Center; Medical Construction & Design