Detroit's TCF Center takes first 25 patients as part of COVID-19 makeshift hospital

The TCF Center is looking very different Thursday night, like a hospital after being outfitted with 1,000 beds for COVID-19 patients.

"We are a long way from this being over but the efforts that the community is making is dramatic," said Mayor Mike Duggan. 

A glimmer of hope from Duggan today, laying out details of the now ready COVID-19 field hospital.  The TCF Center is now being called the TCF Regional Care Center.

"We are going to have to put ultimately, in the coming weeks, 200 to 250 patients in the TCF center just based on the crowding in the hospital," Duggan said.

The National Guard and FEMA - turning the convention space into 1,000 beds for COVID-19 patients, the first 25 being admitted Friday. 

RELATED: Michigan confirms another 117 deaths, 1,158 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday

The facility will receive patients from other Metro Detroit hospitals with 48 hours of them arriving. No walk-ins or people accepted by ambulance.

The new TCF - will not have an Intensive Care Unit, which means COVID-19 patients requiring vents won't be taken there. 

The hospital will be staffed by Henry Ford, McLaren, Beaumont and DMC.  Duggan says how well this field operation does - is a barometer of how well the city is doing handling this pandemic. 

"The single best report card on how well we are doing on social distancing is how many of those beds we end up using," Duggan said.

Detroit has been dubbed a hot zone, in the country - but the numbers Thursday show a bit better trajectory. 

"When you look at 38 deaths Sunday, if we were still doubling every four days we would have had 76 deaths today instead of 26," he said.

Duggan is asking Detroiters to stay home, stay safe - to keep patients from continuing to surge at hospitals. 

"Every country that lets up when it starts to slow, it spikes immediately," he said.