Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed new temporary hospital sites Friday as significant donations flooded in from major corporations to help equip New York in its fight against COVID-19, which to date has infected 44,635 people and killed 519 across the state.
Four new locations in New York City — the epicenter of the crisis — were identified by the governor together with the Army Corps of Engineers as suitable hospital locations: The New York Expo Center in the Bronx; the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens; the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and the College of Staten Island, Cuomo said during Friday’s news conference.
The four proposed sites will join four already approved emergency hospital locations including a 1,000 bed facility at Manhattan’s Javits Center completed Friday afternoon. All eight are considered overflow facilities, designed to take patients from traditional hospitals when they’re inundated with coronavirus cases. Patients with the coronavirus would not be housed in these facilities.
The “first step is approval, that’s up to the president,” Cuomo said, noting that he will be taking his request to the president Friday. Once President Trump deploys the Army Corps, the timeline for completion of the four new facilities “is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 days,” the governor added.
Spanning 449,000 square feet between them, the scouted locations, if approved, would provide 4,000 hospital beds.
New York state has 53,000 existing hospital beds and is expected to need 140,000 — an additional 87,000 — to meet all medical needs at the apex of the crisis, currently expected to be in around 21 days, Cuomo said Friday.
Bridging the deficit is a monumental task, according to the governor.
The recently completed Javits Center, along with three other in-progress overflow facilities in Stony Brook, Westchester and Old Westbury, will deliver a combined total 4,000 hospital beds.
So all told, the eight new facilities would provide 8,000 beds.
Those emergency hospitals, along with the four new proposed sites, would give coverage across the whole of downstate, according to Cuomo.
“I want to have one in every borough,” Cuomo said. “One for Nassau, one for Suffolk, one for Westchester, so everybody knows downstate, which is where the essence of the density is right now, that everyone equally is being helped and is being protected.”
In New York City alone, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 25,573 Friday morning and 366 people have died as a result, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The majority of new beds needed in New York will come from existing hospitals increasing their capacity. The state is expecting all hospitals to increase their capacity by 50% and expects some to increase by 100%, providing an additional 32,000 beds.
The U.S. Navy Ship Comfort, docking Monday in New York City, will bring a further 1,000 beds for overflow patients.
The state will look to convert dormitories, hotels and nursing homes to make up the remaining gap.
“We’re looking far and wide,” Cuomo said. “And finding all the space we can possibly find.”
The state’s scrambling isn’t solely to provide hospital beds. Hospitals and medical professionals are in need of supplies, of which the state only has enough supply for the immediate need, Cuomo said Thursday.
Corporations, organizations and celebrities including Goldman Sachs, Facebook and SoftBank have been donating supplies, equipment and facilities to New York to aid the state’s fight against COVID-19, Cuomo announced in a news release Thursday afternoon.
The donations include hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, equipment and accommodation for medical professionals.
“New York is fighting a war against this virus and we need all the help we can get,” Cuomo said.
Among the list of donations announced include:
- Goldman Sachs: 195,000 masks
- Boll and Branch: 1,000 hospital mattresses
- Restore Global: 150,000 coveralls
- Facebook: 2,500 gallons of hand sanitizer
- SoftBank: 1.4 million N-95 masks
- Niagara Bottling: 560,000 bottles of water
- Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street in Manhattan; Room Mate Grace Hotel: Providing their facilities to serve as free housing for nurses, doctors and medical personnel currently working to respond to the coronavirus outbreak
- St Regis Hotel; The Palace Hotel: Providing their facility for non-critical care patients or medical personnel
- Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos: $1 million
- JUDY: 25,000 N-95 masks
- Amneal: 20,000 bottles of Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug being tested by New York as a coronavirus treatment
- Huawei: 10,000 N-95 masks; 20,000 isolation gowns; 50,000 medical goggles; and 10,000 gloves
- Office of New York Attorney General Letitia James: 1,700 protective masks and 33,000 pairs of gloves