Cuomo calls on federal government to authorize more field hospitals in New York City

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday he will ask the federal government to authorize the construction of four more field hospitals in New York City.

The Army Corps of Engineers is currently building four 1,000-bed temporary hospitals in Manhattan’s Javits Center, Westchester Center, Stony Brook and Old Westbury which will push the number of beds in the state up by 4,000. If the federal government gives okay for the four additional hospitals, that would eventually add another 4,000 beds to the city.

Ideally, the governor said, there would be a temporary hospital in every borough and for the city’s surrounding areas like Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The New York Expo Center in the Bronx, a 90,000 square foot site, the Aqueduct Racetracks in Queens, a 100,000 square feet, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, 182,000 square feet and the College of Staten Island, 77,000 square feet in size, are the new sites the state is pitching to the federal government.

The Army Corps of Engineers would essentially do the same thing that they are currently doing at the Javits Center, building out interior space to accommodate beds and erecting tents to house supplies and equipment outside of the sites.

Beyond this new request, the navy ship comfort ship is scheduled to dock in New York Harbor on Monday March 30, supplying the city with 1,000 beds, 1,200 medical personnel and 12 operating rooms, a pharmacy and a lab. The state is also planning on converting dormitories at City College and Queens College into temporary hospital rooms as well as hotels like the Marriot Brooklyn Bridge Hotel and nursing homes like the Brooklyn Center Nursing Home.

The goal, Governor Cuomo said, is to up the number of hospital beds in the state from 53,000 140,000. There is a special focus on ICU beds. The state will need 40,000 ICU beds. When the virus first spread to New York there were only 3,000 ICU beds.

Governor Cuomo said that the city could expect the Javits Center to begin admitting patients between March 30 and April 5, for hotels and dormitories to begin housing the sick the week of April 6 and more hospital open hospital beds to become available during the following two weeks.

As of Friday, the total number of coronavirus cases in New York City is 25,398 with 4,005 new cases, the Governor said.

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