$21 million hospital built for coronavirus victims in New York closes without ever seeing a patient

NEW YORK — A temporary field hospital built for $21 million as the coronavirus outbreak threatened to overrun medical facilities in New York has closed without ever seeing a patient.

Plans to transform the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into a temporary 670-bed hospital were announced March 31, a day after the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived to help coronavirus patients. Officials also announced a tennis center in Queens would be converted into a 350-bed facility.

At that time, there were about 8,400 patients in hospitals citywide being treated for the coronavirus, The City reported.

The tennis center opened as a medical facility April 11 when there were 12,184 patients in hospital beds being treated across the city. It cost $19.8 million to renovate and revert the tennis center. It closed earlier this month after taking in 79 patients.

The Brooklyn hospital, built by SLSCO, a Texas-based construction company, was supposed to open in April but was not ready for patients until May 4, The City reported. By then, hospital use had been sliced in half, to about 6,000 patients. It closed last week without ever having a patient.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to pay the costs for both hospitals.

The two field hospitals were not the only emergency medical facilities in New York that saw limited use.

The Comfort left New York after about a month and treating 182 patients, of which about 70% had the coronavirus.

Several other field hospitals were built across New York for nearly $350 million. They closed in April without seeing any patients, The Associated Press reported.

Built for worst-case scenarios, some of the unused facilities will be kept on stand by for a possible second wave.

"As part of our hospital surge, we expanded capacity at a breakneck speed, ensuring our hospital infrastructure would be prepared to handle the very worst. We did so only with a single-minded focus: saving lives," city spokesperson Avery Cohen told The New York Post. "Over the past few months, social distancing, face coverings, and other precautionary measures have flattened the curve drastically, and we remain squarely focused on taking that progress even further."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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