New York has a new plan to flatten the coronavirus curve: opening COVID-19-only facilities.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the plan in a press briefing on Saturday afternoon, along with new coronavirus outbreak numbers for the state. New York state now has 52,318 total coronavirus cases. New York has seen 728 confirmed deaths, a 50 percent increase from 519 deaths reported by the governor’s office on Friday.
Cuomo also shared what he called “good news”: the number of patients admitted to intensive care units dropped to 172 on Friday, down from 374 on Thursday. Total hospitalizations for coronavirus also dropped in the last 24 hours to 847, from 1154 patients in the previous 24-hour period.
Governor Cuomo said the state’s new plan for dedicated coronavirus facilities will isolate at least 600 additional beds in the Bronx, Staten Island and Westchester County.
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“We’re going to go to COVID-only hospitals where people in those hospitals will just have the COVID virus,” Cuomo said. “The staff that is there is basically working with one type of issue as opposed to a normal hospital setting where you can have people with heart ailments and other medical issues.”
The governor said that opening these facilities will help limit the exposure uninfected patients have to those who have already contracted the deadly virus.
Cuomo also announced that President Trump approved plans for establishing a temporary medical facility in each of the outer boroughs: at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York Expo Center in the Bronx, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and CUNY Staten Island.
“This is going to be a big advantage,” Cuomo said Saturday afternoon. “This is going to add another 4000 beds. And there’s one in every borough in New York City, which was important to me. Every borough knows that they have a facility and they’re getting the same treatment that everyone else is getting.”
Earlier this week, the state began building temporary hospitals in large venues around the city in preparation for the influx of patients expected in the weeks to come. On Monday, the first of these makeshift hospitals is expected to open at the Jacob Javits Center in midtown Manhattan, with help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard.
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Hospitals around the state, particularly in New York City, have struggled to keep up with the flood of coronavirus cases. Elmhurst Hospital in Queens made national headlines on Wednesday after 13 of their coronavirus patients died over a 24-hour period. Other hospitals in the five boroughs have seen as many as six times the number of ER visits in recent weeks according to an analysis from local news outlet The City. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in the Queens neighborhood of Richmond Hill, for example, said that 80 percent of the facility is dedicated entirely to treating COVID-19 patients, according to the Queens Eagle.
Experts project that New York will need as many as 140,000 hospital beds across the state, including 40,000 in ICUs, in order to keep up with the number of anticipated cases, Cuomo said. Earlier this month, he mandated that current hospitals increase their capacity by 50% to help alleviate capacity issues.
Cover: Against a backdrop of hospital beds, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (center) talks during a news conference regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) inside the Jacob Javits Center in New York, NY, March 27, 2020. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)