The final patient has left the temporary hospital at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, the home of the US Open.
The hospital has officially closed, and we are currently in the shutting-down mode. [Crews] will be in there for the next three to four weeks disassembling, sanitising and getting us ready to open up for indoor business when we can. Danny Zausner, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Chief Operating Officer
In late March, 12 tennis courts at the facility’s Indoor Training Center were transformed into supplemental hospital space to accommodate 470 patients in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients began arriving the second week of April, although the temporary hospital, which used 100,000 square feet of space and later included 20 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, was never utilised at full capacity.
“The hospital has officially closed, and we are currently in the shutting-down mode,” said USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Chief Operating Officer Danny Zausner. “[Crews] will be in there for the next three to four weeks disassembling, sanitising and getting us ready to open up for indoor business when we can.
“I’m elated this part is over, so we know we’re headed in the right direction.”
Media reports earlier this week suggested the temporary hospital could now be used as overflow space for people who were unable to quarantine in their own homes, but Zausner said that was not the case.
In addition to the temporary hospital, Louis Armstrong Stadium has been used as a commissary to prepare and distribute food packages for COVID-19 patients, healthcare workers and underprivileged school children who rely on breakfast and lunch in the school system.
Teams created 25,000 packages of meals every day in Armstrong, the second-biggest stadium on the grounds of the US Open, with each package consisting of two days’ worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After initially preparing 150,000 meals a day, production has since scaled back to providing hot food for first responders.
Zausner said he expected food production to end by 22 May, with the teams completely out of the stadium by 1 June.
“We’ve had conversations throughout the process, and there’s no shortage of appreciation, city-and state-wide, for the USTA stepping up to help out,” Zausner said.
“We were just trying to do our part. We were limited in terms of what our capabilities were, but we were able to provide a safe haven for first responders and, with our food service partners and Restaurant Associates, were able to feed them.
“We felt really good about that. But as we said all along, relative to what people are doing out there, day by day, 24 hours a day, we were just scratching the surface.”