PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The shuttered Hahnemann Hospital will not be a coronavirus treatment center in Philadelphia. Mayor Jim Kenney announced Thursday afternoon the city has ended negotiations with the owner of the Hahnemann Hospital building.
“We have ended negotiations with the owner of Hahnemann Hospital over the potential use of the shuttered facility. We need to find facilities that can contain several hundred hospital beds. The Hahnemann building is vacant but it is also in a state of disrepair,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
In the midst of the current public health crisis, city officials hoped to reopen the facility for isolation and quarantine purposes, if necessary. Now, they’re looking to other businesses for help during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We need to focus on the crisis at hand, including the need to develop facilities that will serve as field hospitals, as quarantine space and as isolation space, facilities that will actually help save lives,” Kenney said.
Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Broad Street Health Properties which owns Hahnemann University Hospital, says despite the city’s decision to end negotiations, if they changed their mind, Hahnemann is ready to “reengage” in discussions.
“We appreciate and applaud the City’s efforts to address the health crisis quickly. We understand that the City doesn’t feel that the Hahnemann building currently fits their urgent needs as a quarantine site. Should the situation change we stand ready to reengage in discussions on how the City or the State can best use the facility.”
The city now has a total of 475 cases, with 127 new cases reported on Thursday.
“As these cases rise, the risk increases to everyone in the City of Philadelphia,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “Each day becomes even more important to follow our stay-at-home order.”
On the heels of the rising coronavirus numbers, closed businesses and surging unemployment, City Council members have given approval to an $85 million emergency budget to address Philadelphia’s COVID-19 crisis.
“How are we responding to the health crisis? How are we dealing and working with our workers? How are we supporting our small businesses? And how are we supporting our people?” Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez said.
City officials say there has been a silver lining in all of this as many businesses in the area have offered protective gear and equipment to help health care professionals.
Meantime, city council members will be back at work next week to give final approval to the $85 million emergency budget.