US hospitals rush to find beds for surge of virus patients
SEATTLE — With her due date fast approaching, Kelly McCarty packed a bag with nursing tops, a robe, slippers and granola bars. Last week’s ultrasound, she said, showed “this baby is head down and ready to go.” But the new coronavirus has thrown her a curveball, bouncing her and about 140 other expectant moms from their first-choice hospital to another 30 minutes away. The birth unit at the Edmonds, Washington, hospital is needed for COVID-19. With capacity stretched thin, U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of patients, opening older closed hospitals, turning single rooms into doubles and re-purposing other medical buildings. Louisiana is making deals with hotels to provide additional hospital beds and has converted three state parks into isolation sites for patients who can’t go home. Illinois is reopening a 314-bed suburban Chicago hospital that closed in September. In Seattle, Harborview Medical Center is turning a homeless shelter into a 45-bed coronavirus recovery center. In New York, the city’s convention center is being turned into a temporary hospital. At Mount Sinai Morningside hospital, heart surgeons, cardiologists and cardiovascular nurses now care for coronavirus patients in a converted cardiac unit. Floating hospitals from the U.S.