Coronavirus field hospital coming to Atlantic City Convention Center

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- With the State of New Jersey now documenting the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, New York being the first, it is no wonder why it's been a virtual ghost town since a state-mandated shutdown.

The coronavirus has forced all non-essential businesses to close in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

Officials in Atlantic City are doing their part to help.

"The calls for service have increased for medical calls as people being a little panicked. People are a little bit anxious about how this is all going to play out," said Chief Scott Evans, the director of Atlantic City Emergency Services.

The irony is Atlantic City, for the last 22 months, was making an economic comeback. Now, it will become home to one of four FEMA field hospitals across the State of New Jersey. To be housed out of the Atlantic City Convention Center, it will handle the potential overflow of new COVID-19 patients.

New Jersey State Police superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said other field hospitals will be located at Edison's convention center, the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus and another undetermined location

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"The convention center in Atlantic City is a really large building, it's over a half-million square feet, its a great location. It's at the bottom of the Expressway, the access and egress to the Expressway is pretty good," said Evans.

That field hospital could soon play a crucial role for residents of Camden County who on Tuesday recorded its highest number of cases in a single day.

"Of the 18 new cases, three were in their 20s, and three were in their 30s, so we're starting to see some younger folks affected by this virus," said Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli.

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"The speed which this is happening is unprecedented, so again I want to give the president and FEMA a huge shoutout," said Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits here in New Jersey is expected to skyrocket in the next two weeks.

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