Cuomo Orders Hospitals to Add 25,000 Beds for COVID-19 Patients
by Dan Clark • Published on March 23, 2020 • 0 Comments
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters Monday, March 23, 2020.
Credit: Dan Clark
New York state will order hospitals to increase the number of beds they have available by at least 50%, with a goal of doubling that capacity, to prepare for a wave of hospitalizations expected to result from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Cuomo also traveled to New York City Monday afternoon to tour the construction of a temporary hospital at the Jacobs Javits Center in Manhattan.
The Javits Center is one of four facilities that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently retrofitting into temporary health care facilities to handle an influx of patients afflicted with the novel coronavirus. Two others are on Long Island, with a third in Westchester County.
The Javits Center, Cuomo said Monday, will be able to accommodate an additional 2,000 beds when the facility is finished.
Cuomo has said, in recent days, that New York may need approximately 110,000 hospital beds at the height of the pandemic, which the state is projecting for early may. That’s double what’s available now.
Cuomo said half that need — about 25,000 beds — will be met by hospitals creating new beds within their existing facilities to treat patients hospitalized with the disease.
“If they increased the capacity 100%, that solves the mathematical projection, right? I think it’s unreasonable to say to every hospital to double your capacity, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say try … but you must reach a 50% increase,” Cuomo said.
He continued calls for retired medical professionals to contact the state if they’re able to volunteer their time in health care facilities. Hospitals don’t have the staff to manage an increase in beds, he said, so finding more licenses individuals will be critical.”
“Once you secure the bed, you have to secure the staff,” Cuomo said. “You are going to have staff who are going to get sick and need to be replaced. You create these new beds, you don’t have the staff for those new beds now.”
So far, the number of cases of COVID-19 in New York hasn’t exceeded the capacity in hospitals, but the state has predicted that could change in the coming weeks.
As of Monday morning, 2,635 of those diagnosed with the disease in New York since the start of May have required hospitalization. That’s about 13% of the total cases identified since the first person was diagnosed in New York about three weeks ago.
The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in New York reached a new high on Monday, with 20,875 people testing positive for the disease. The number of deaths has increased to 157, according to state data.