Temporary hospital coming to Aqueduct

Rear Admiral John Mustin, left and Gov. Cuomo in Manhattan Monday morning at the docking of the welcome the United States Naval Hospital Ship Comfort. The ship has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms, and is slated to take non-COVID-19 patients to take pressure off of city hospitals.

The Army Corps of Engineers will be constructing a temporary 1,000-bed hospital facility on the grounds of Aqueduct Raceway in South Ozone Park.

Speaking at a news update on Saturday, Gov. Cuomo, fresh off a phone call with President Trump, announced that the site was one of four that will see one hospital erected in each of the city’s outer boroughs.

The others, according to a transcript of the briefing obtained from Cuomo’s official website, include the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, CUNY Staten Island and the New York Expo Center in the Bronx, adding an additional 4,000 beds to the state’s capacity. The state also is planning similar sites in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“They are appropriate and suitable to bring in large scale medical facilities,” Cuomo said. “They’re 100,000 square feet, 120,000 square feet. They’re open, they have electric, they have climate control, et cetera. So, this is going to be a big advantage. This will add another 4,000 beds and there is one in every borough in New York City, which was important to me. Every borough knows that they have a facility and they are getting the same treatment that everyone else is getting.”

The Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan opened Monday to receive nearly 3,000 non-COVID-19 patients in order to relieve the burden on city hospitals.

The 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort also docked in Manhattan Monday morning. It too is expected to take patients who are not suffering from the virus.

Cuomo said the state is gearing up based on current projections that the apex of the emergency can be expected to slam New York State between April 10 and 17. 

He said officials are stocking up on ventilators with a projected need for up to 30,000; and are considering training National Guard personnel to operate manual bag valve masks. The masks can help a patient when no mechanical ventilator is available but also are labor-intensive.

“We have only 14 to 21 days [to the apex] so it’s not a significant amount of time, but do everything you can to get ready now,” Cuomo said Saturday. “... I’m not going to wait for day 13 to say ‘Oh my gosh, we need 30,000 ventilators. It’s over.’”

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