New York state to build temporary hospitals amid COVID-19 outbreak


NEW YORK – The US state of New York will build four temporary hospitals to address imminent hospital capacity issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

According to Xinhua news agency, he listed the four sites selected as the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre in Manhattan, a Westchester county center, and locations at State University of New York’s Stony Brook campus and Old Westbury campus.

The state has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to explore possible locations to be turned into temporary medical facilities, he told a press conference.

“And now we just have to get it done and get it done quickly,” he said.

Regarding the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will erect a federal hospital within the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre, he said, “The federal hospital by FEMA is different than (from) the Army Corps of Engineers temporary facility.”

“The FEMA hospitals come with staff and with supplies. They’re in 250-bed configurations. We’re asking for four of those 250-bed configurations to be assembled in Javits Center,” Cuomo added.

Experts predicted the peak of COVID-19 outbreak in New York to happen in early May, which would require as many as 110,000 hospital beds. Currently, the state has about 53,000.

The New York governor also urged President Donald Trump to implement the Defense Production Act, which could mandate private companies to produce essential medical equipment.

“We have cries from hospitals around the state. I have spoken to other governors across the country. They have the same situation,” said Cuomo. “So I believe the federal government should immediately utilise the Defense Production Act.”

Earlier on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city, where some 9,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, is running out of medical supplies, such as gloves, gowns and masks, in 10 days.

There are currently over 33,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the United States, with some 15,000 of them in the New York state, according to data by the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.