Georgia World Congress Center reopens today for COVID-19 patients

ATLANTA — COVID-19 patients will be able to be treated at the Georgia World Congress Center beginning today after Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the facility be used as a temporary hospital.

Kemp made the announcement Friday to reopen the GWCC to help with the large amount of people suffering from the coronavirus.

“These additional hospital beds will provide relief to surrounding healthcare facilities while providing top notch care for patients. My administration is laser-focused on expanding hospital surge capacity while working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a news release Monday.

The Georgia World Congress Center acted as a temporary hospital earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic first began. It took in 17 patients while it was open and was last used around the end of May.

Grady Memorial Hospital is helping send patients from full hospitals to ones that can take more patients.

Grady is part of the Regional Coordinating Center, which was set up after a flood destroyed hundreds of beds and Grady had to transfer patients to different hospitals.

That same RCC can also be used to move COVID-19 patients from at- or near-capacity hospitals into ones that can take them.

The temporary hospital at the GWCC closed weeks ago when COVID case numbers dropped, but it is back open now due to the surge.

Georgia Emergency Management director Mark Sexton told Channel 2 Action News that the reopening should help relieve pressure on stressed hospitals.

“The COVID patients are apparently taking a long time to get to full recovery stage, so this is going to provide an outlet for the hospital that once they’ve gotten patients that are starting to get better but still need a level of medical care, they can bring them here,” Sexton said.