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Cuomo Expects Coronavirus Peak in 45 Days, Plans Boost in Hospital Capacity

Cuomo Expects Coronavirus Peak in 45 Days, Plans Boost in Hospital Capacity
by Dan Clark • Published on March 17, 2020 • 0 Comments
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Credit: Dan Clark
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said experts in New York expect the number of hospitalizations required because of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, to peak in 45 days, and could require more than 12 times as many ICU beds than the state currently has available.
Hospital administrators are meeting today in New York, Cuomo said, to create a plan for creating more space, and making more beds available for patients with the disease.
That comes as more than 400 additional cases of COVID-19 were identified in New York overnight, bringing the statewide total to 1,374 as of Tuesday morning. More than 10,000 people have been tested for the disease, as of now, with 12 deaths.
Out of the 1,374 cases in New York, 264, or about 19%, have required hospitalization.
Cuomo said experts in New York have predicted that as many as 18,600 to 37,200 intensive care unit beds could be needed at the peak of the disease, which is expected around the end of April. As many as 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds could be needed, Cuomo said.
As of now, New York state has 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care unit beds, Cuomo’s said in recent days.
He’s called on President Donald Trump to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to come to New York and identify spaces that could be retrofitted to accommodate individuals with the coronavirus when hospital capacity reaches a critical point.
Cuomo told reporters he spoke to Trump Tuesday morning, and that Trump said the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be available to help the situation in New York.
New York, Cuomo said, will work in cooperation with the federal government as much as possible to curb the outbreak.
“We’re not Democrats, we’re not Republicans. We’re Americans at the end of the day,” Cuomo said.
Trump, speaking at the White House Tuesday morning, said the conversation with Cuomo was “productive.” Trump said the federal government will authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to work with New York if needed.
“We’re starting to, we’re starting the process. We hope it’s not necessary, but it could be necessary,” Trump said. “The state is working on it very hard themselves, but we’ll probably supplement what they’re doing.”
There’s a three-way agreement, Cuomo said, between his office, the State Senate, and the Assembly on legislation that would provide paid sick leave amid the coronavirus pandemic. We have the details on that bill in a separate post.
The U.S. Senate, on Tuesday, was also expected to take up legislation to provide sick leave for individuals affected by the disease. The House has already approved the bill.
As of now, Cuomo said, there are no plans to quarantine entire cities, or areas, to curb the spread of COVID-19. Cuomo said that kind of order wouldn’t make sense because people would immediately leave the area before it took effect.
Several local officials have reached out to him, Cuomo said, and told him about complaints from constituents, who are upset about the state’s recent actions regarding COVID-19. He said to direct those individuals to him.
“If you are upset by what we have done, be upset at me,” Cuomo said. “I made these decisions. They’re all state-ordered rules.”
New York will also open a second drive-through testing facility for the coronavirus in Nassau County on Tuesday, Cuomo said, with other locations expected in Suffolk County, Rockland County, and on Staten Island.