Coronavirus (Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

ATLANTA – The Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta will reopen to receive coronavirus patients on Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.

The facility, which has a capacity of 120 beds, will house 60 beds initially and increase based on need.

“These additional hospital beds will provide relief to surrounding health-care facilities while providing top notch care for patients,” Kemp said in a prepared statement. “My administration is laser-focused on expanding hospital surge capacity while working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.”

This will mark the second time the convention center has been tapped to help with an overflow of coronavirus patients. A 200-bed alternative care facility there was activated back in April as COVID-19 cases soared and state officials rushed to boost emergency bed capacity.

Its operations were paused in late May as the governor moved to relax business restrictions and jump-start the state’s flagging economy.

But COVID-19 cases have been rising again since the beginning of July. As of Thursday afternoon, 18,303 Georgians suffering from coronavirus were hospitalized, including 3,354 patients in intensive care.

The number of confirmed cases in Georgia had risen to 182,286. The virus had killed 3,671 Georgians.

Grady Memorial Hospital will serve as the lead hospital for clinical oversight for the 120-bed facility at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The facility also will have the staffing and equipment necessary to treat a higher level of need in patients than the previous configuration during May and June, enabling hospitals to focus their staff and resources on the most critical patients in their own facilities.