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Colorado Convention Center to be converted into 2,000-bed field hospital

Denver Mayor Hancock also implored local hotels to consider assisting people experiencing homelessness.

DENVER — The Colorado Convention Center will be converted into a 2,000-bed field hospital this month to relieve pressure on the medical system. 

That's according to a letter released Friday by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock that also called on hotels to open rooms to assist with housing people experiencing homelessness.

"We need an additional 3,300 rooms to meet the anticipated need among people experiencing homelessness and the needs of our local hospitals in the weeks ahead," Hancock wrote in the letter.

The Colorado Convention Center will not be pulling resources away from local hospitals when it comes to medical staff. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, staff are being recruited from all over the U.S. 

Some have volunteered their services, and others will be contracted to work. 

Hancock also said he has " personally appealed" to the city's top hotel industry leaders.

"I realize there are many hurdles — insurance, staffing, house rules, food service and more — that must be overcome," Hancock wrote. "My staff has been instructed to work quickly and creatively to help overcome any and all barriers."

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Hancock also said in the letter that the city has opened new homeless shelters that emphasize social distancing and provide space for people who are symptomatic, and that the city has leased 120 motel rooms for respite care for people who may have tested positive or who are awaiting results.

"We are providing city employees — and we are hopeful the state will assist as well — to staff these facilities, and we continue to look for additional expansion opportunities," he wrote.

The letter comes on the same day At-Large Denver Councilmember Robin Kniech joined other elected officials on a remote news conference to ask that the state provide more resources to assist in keeping people experiencing homelessness safe. 

The officials called on the state to implement four things:

  • Establish a housing site and deploy national guard.
  • Make hotels and motels available to house those who have no where else to go.
  • Include homeless service providers in those getting PPE.
  • Provide expended testing among people experiencing homelessness.

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