Coronavirus News: National Tennis Center in Queens opens hospital for coronavirus patients

NEW YORK CITY -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the opening of the National Tennis Center in Queens as a hospital Friday and said the facility may be used to quarantine recovering patients to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus once the city is past the acute crisis phase of the pandemic.

"You need a lot of capacity to quarantine people and isolate people to make that work," de Blasio said. "Facilities like these, if they're not needed for medical, will be turned into quarantine and isolation facilities to help people get through their own experience with the disease while making sure we don't infect the other members of their family or other people in their life."

For now, the home of the U.S. Open has been converted into a 470-bed hospital intended to relieve the burden from the overtaxed Elmhurst Hospital.

The new temporary hospital will be staffed with doctors and nurses from around the country who have traveled to New York to help treat COVID-19 patients.

"They came here because they love New York City and they wanted to help New York City in our hour of need," de Blasio said. It was "very, very moving," he said, to meet a woman who came all the way from Alaska.

Later Friday evening, de Blasio paid a visit to Bellevue Hospital Center with his wife, Chirlane McCray, to thank medical staff. They participated in the daily applause and cheers that take place around the city, as residents thank hospital workers for their efforts.

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