COVID-19 overflow facility at Temple University's Liacouras Center opens Monday

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Liacouras Center has become a maze of 180 beds, oxygen lines, and medicals supplies as it awaits a possible surge of coronavirus patients in Philadelphia.

It will open on Monday for staff only.

As the White House calls Philadelphia a potential hot spot, this overflow center is equipped and ready according to site CEO Dr. Sandra Gomberg.
"These will be COVID patients above the age of 18 who have been improving in the hospital but need a few days before they are ready to go home," Gomberg said.

Here in Philadelphia, residents are getting mixed messages. While the feds are dubbing Philadelphia a potential hotspot, city leaders say they're cautiously optimistic the virus is plateauing here.

"We believe its a regional consideration that the federal government is looking at: Camden, Wilmington, and the surrounding counties," City Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

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"I don't have to deal with the president or anyone else. I have to deal with FEMA and the CDC, those are the folks we need to deal with," Mayor Jim Kenney added.

Dr. Gomberg says she and others received input from medical professionals in Italy while equipping the Liacouras Center.
The site will have two dedicated ambulances.

It's not needed for patients currently and health officials says bed capacity and ventilators are in sufficient supply city and statewide.

However, viruses and proper social distancing are unpredictable.

"We are making progress but recognize we could have a spike," Abernathy said.

The Pennsylvania Health Department reports 8,900 hospital beds are available across the state with roughly 1,700 ICU beds.

In Philadelphia, 1,400 beds are available and 256 ICU beds. The critical question is: it enough given what we know so far?

"At the moment I think we are okay. If this gets much worse, we get a surge in new cases, a hospital sees more new cases, then we might bump up against the limits of what the hospitals can do," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

Philadelphia reported its highest daily death toll on Friday with 33 fatalities. The total for the city has risen to more than 135.
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