Field Hospital Plan In Place For South Florida Fairgrounds If Needed

In the face of the COVID-19 emergency, Palm Beach County is in the process of implementing a plan to stage a field hospital at the South Florida Fairgrounds should there be a need for additional hospital beds.

Palm Beach County has multiple plans for multiple hazards and is always refining and testing these plans. With the assistance of the state, this hospital will be setup in case there is a significant surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson explained the rationale behind the planning.

“Palm Beach County has to take into consideration many possible scenarios in response to emergencies,” he said. “Some of these responses require days of planning and setup, and this requires us to implement a plan even before it is apparent that there is a need. This is a normal occurrence in emergency management and does not guarantee these worst case scenarios will come to pass.”

During a press conference in Miami, Gov. Ron DeSantis stressed that there are at least five field hospitals being planned around the state, but at this time there is no need for these hospitals. The state as a whole has nearly 42 percent available capacity in Florida hospitals, and Palm Beach County currently has more than 46 percent of hospital beds available.

Once the decision is made to open the field hospital, it will be made public through the media. This hospital will not be accessible to the public and will be used to take pressure off of local hospitals that have a surge of incoming patients due to COVID-19.