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D.C. has finished converting the Walter E. Washington Convention Center into a temporary hospital to address the surge in patients related to COVID-19.

The goal is to never need to use the convention center, because that’d mean hospitals are overwhelmed and cannot handle patients who come in to treat the coronavirus illness or other complications. Hospitals in D.C. have also added additional beds in their own facilities to prepare for the surge. If necessary, liaisons at hospitals will coordinate when patients move from a hospital setting into the convention center. 

Medstar National Rehabilitation, United Medical Center, and both BridgePoint hospitals have already finished adding their total number of surge beds. As of May 10, D.C.’s hospital bed capacity is at 71 percent, meaning 1,775 of the 2,487 total hospital beds are occupied with patients. Of the 1,775, 416 are COVID-19 patients. 

It took 22 days to design and convert the convention center to hold 437 hospital beds. It is ready to accept 100 patients this week. The convention center will not be used to treat the sickest patients who need an ICU bed or ventilator. The Bowser administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with other partners, finished building the temporary hospital on May 8, meeting the self-imposed deadline officials made a month ago. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay the initial invoice for the convention center and then send D.C. a bill for the shared balance. The total cost is $55 million.

“We are going to use it as long as we need it,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser during a press conference on Monday. She couldn’t say when the temporary hospital would be shut down. DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbittsaid she does expect a peak in hospitalizations in late May. If there is ever a need for surge beds, it’d be then. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • As of May 10, D.C. reported 5 additional deaths and 117 positive cases, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths and infections to 328 and 6,389, respectively. So far 30,261 individuals have been tested overall. [EOM

  • Metro won’t return to pre-pandemic service until 2021. [WAMU

  • Northern Virginia leaders to Gov. Ralph Northam: We’re not ready for Phase 1. [Post

  • Johns Hopkins releases a tool kit to help businesses reopen safely. [WUSA9]

  • By one estimate, 4 out of 5 renters were able to pay May rent nationwide. But landlords and tenants alike are worried about July rent, when the federal boost in unemployment stops. [CityLab]


LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Participate in our voters’ guide by telling us what you want us to ask local politicians. [WCP]

  • ICYMI: Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White won’t clarify his comment on vaccines. [WCP]

  • Jordan Grossman’s campaign is the first to go negative in Ward 2. [Twitter]

  • What does school look like during a pandemic? [Post]

  • Here are the COVID-19 funds available to D.C. from the federal government, according to a D.C. Auditor’s report. [ODCA]

  • Restorative justice in D.C. gives prosecutors a new perspective. [DCist]

  • Gertrude Stein Democratic Club is hosting a candidate endorsement forum this evening. [GSDC]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Ivy and Coney owners launch a grassroots food delivery platform they hope is better for restaurants and drivers. [WCP]

  • What happens at a restaurant after a worker tests positive? [Washingtonian]

  • Where to find top take-out desserts. [Post]

  • Keep track of where restaurants have reopened across the country. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall(tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Hulu’s Spaceship Earth documentary is a timely tale. [WCP]

  • The Viral Art Project, created by D.C.-based artist Mark Kelner, is a showcase of striking posters. [Washingtonian]

  • Ellicott City, Maryland, is the subject of a new Gordon Ramsay “Save Our Town” TV special airing tomorrow on Fox. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • D.C.’s pro rugby team, Old Glory DC, expects to survive the sports shutdown and return next year. [WCP]

  • Maryland men’s basketball has picked up a key recruit in four-star forward Julian Reese from Baltimore. His older sister, Angel, one of the top recruits in the country, is also headed to play basketball at College Park. [Testudo Times]

  • Bryce Harper said recently that he was “hurt” by the Nationals’ offer to him as a free agent that would’ve deferred $100 million of the $300 million contract. The impasse appeared to have worked out for both parties. Harper would eventually sign with the Phillies for a record 13-year, $330 million contract and the Nationals would go on to win the World Series. [NBC Sports Washington]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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This post has been updated to correct how the temporary hospital is being paid for.