Header Ads

Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to reopen COVID field hospital at NYC's Javits Center as city hospitalizations surge

 Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to turn the Javits Center back into a field hospital - despite it only taking in 1,000 patients back in April when New York City was the virus epicenter of the world.

Cuomo's office said the state of New York is ready to reactivate the 2,500-bed makeshift hospital if necessary amid fears that the Big Apple's hospitals and healthcare systems could once again buckle under the weight of the pandemic.    

New York City passed a grim milestone of 25,000 COVID-19 deaths Monday and 69 percent of hospital beds and 72 percent of ICU beds are now full. 

The Javits convention center based in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen was turned into a 2,500-bed hospital back in March, making it the largest hospital in the country fighting the pandemic at the time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to turn the Javits Center (pictured in March) back into a field hospital - despite it only taking in 1,000 patients back in April when New York City was the virus epicenter of the world

Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to turn the Javits Center (pictured in March) back into a field hospital - despite it only taking in 1,000 patients back in April when New York City was the virus epicenter of the world

But the facility closed early May after treating just 1,100 patients, after the state said it was no longer needed. 

It was also originally set up to only take in non-COVID-19 patients. 

This resulted in beds lying empty while patients and bodies spilled out into the corridors of the city's overwhelmed hospitals.

In April, the center then started accepting COVID-19 patients.    

It is not clear if the Javits Center will cater to COVID-19 patients if it is reactivated.


Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi told DailyMail.com the state would determine what the needs are at the time but said that the reason for the delay in accepting COVID-19 patients first time around was because of now-changed federal government rules.  

Azzopardi said the state had been preparing the field hospitals 'for weeks' - but they are hoping it won't be necessary to reopen them. 

'The Governor has made clear that we’re laser focused on preserving hospital capacity and protecting our healthcare system as cases increase and continue to do so as we move through the holiday season,' he said in a statement. 

'New York state for weeks has been undertaking preparations to have emergency hospital facilities to be ready for potential surge in cases, including sites such as the Javits where much of the infrastructure is still in place and could be mobilized quickly if the increase in hospitalizations is worse than expected.'  

Cuomo's office told the New York Post the state of New York is gearing up to reactivate the 2,500-bed makeshift hospital amid fears that the Big Apple's hospitals and healthcare systems could once again buckle under the weight of the pandemic

Cuomo's office told the New York Post the state of New York is gearing up to reactivate the 2,500-bed makeshift hospital amid fears that the Big Apple's hospitals and healthcare systems could once again buckle under the weight of the pandemic

New York City's Javits Center begins to take COVID-19 patients
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time3:13
Fullscreen
Need Text

Azzopardi said the state still hopes the facilities won't need to be activated but officials are 'laser focused' on expanding hospital capacity if - or when - necessary.

'We urge New Yorkers to continue to be SMART so we can avoid a surge that overwhelms our hospital system and these facilities do not have to be activated.' 

He said there was no specific benchmark in place for when the field hospitals will reopen but said the state was closely monitoring bed capacity across all hospitals. 

Hospitals are required to inform the state three weeks in advance if they are on track to reach a point where 85 percent of beds are full. 

Azzopardi said no hospitals have yet reported such figures.    

Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health which ran the field hospital alongside the state and the army, said reopening the center is a 'worst-case scenario' and one he doesn't expect to happen in reality.

'There are no plans to open Javits right now. But if we do need to, the pre-planning is done,' Dowling told the New York Post

'Right now I think the likelihood of reopening is minimal. We want to be ready if something drastic occurs.'  

The Javits convention center in Manhattan was turned into a 2,500-bed hospital back in March. The facility closed early May after treating just over 1,100 patients after the state said it was no longer needed (above army personnel with a patient)

The Javits convention center in Manhattan was turned into a 2,500-bed hospital back in March. The facility closed early May after treating just over 1,100 patients after the state said it was no longer needed (above army personnel with a patient)

In April, the center then started accepting COVID-19 patients. It is not clear if the Javits Center will cater to COVID-19 patients this time

In April, the center then started accepting COVID-19 patients. It is not clear if the Javits Center will cater to COVID-19 patients this time

The Javits was one of a number of field hospitals that were installed to help ease the burden on the city's hospitals, only to be dismantled weeks later after only taking a small number of patients.  

The USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship was drafted in to Manhattan at the height the pandemic on March 30, but was waved off a month later on April 30 after it treated just 182 patients within its 1,000-bed capacity. 

Some makeshift facilities such as the 670-bed makeshift hospital at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook were demobilized before taking in a single COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 patient. 

Then there was the 14-test makeshift hospital erected in Central Park at the end of March by Samaritan's Purse, which shuttered in May after treating 315 patients.  

Over in Flushing, the Billie Jean King Tennis Center was also converted into a 350-bed hospital at a cost of $19.8 million to at as an overflow for the nearby Elmhurst Hospital in Queens but closed after taking in just 79 patients. 

The USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship was drafted in to Manhattan at the height the pandemic on March 30, but was waved off a month later on April 30 after it treated just 182 patients within its 1,000-bed capacity (pictured arriving March 30)

The USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship was drafted in to Manhattan at the height the pandemic on March 30, but was waved off a month later on April 30 after it treated just 182 patients within its 1,000-bed capacity (pictured arriving March 30)

This drew widespread criticism as millions were invested into building the facilities and they provided little relief to overburdened hospitals. 

The sites were also dismantled before New York City had reached the target number of hospital beds free that the state said was needed for it to begin reopening.  

Cuomo set a target that all regions must have 30 percent of their hospital beds free to begin phase one of reopening.

Other parts of the state reached the target in May but New York City didn't until June - yet the field hospitals were long gone. 

The state has blamed the shortfall in admitting patients to the field hospitals on the federal government.

Azzopardi told DailyMail.com government rules prevented the state from using Javits and the other field hospitals for COVID-19 patients. 

The rules were later changed and COVID-19 patients were then able to be admitted to the facilities but - by this point - hospitals were in a better position.   

Azzopardi said elective surgeries had been canceled, people stayed home so there were fewer admissions for other injuries such as car accidents and the predicted hospitalization models were based on people not following stay-at-home orders which they did.  

Now the federal rules have changed, the state would be permitted to accept COVID patients as soon as it reopens.   

The state's preparations come as New York City hit a grim milestone Tuesday as officials announced that deaths linked to coronavirus have now surpassed 25,000.

The city's health department confirmed there have now been 25,055 fatalities. 

Statewide the positivity rate reached 7.14 percent Tuesday. 

2 comments:

  1. New Yorkers continue their quest to be known as "THE dumbest people on the planet". How did Cuomo become the second dumbest politician in New York State? New Yorkers elected AOC.

    ReplyDelete