New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state currently has 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 ICU beds available, but that the rate of the projected coronavirus curve says that within 45 days the state could have 110,000 people hospitalized and up to 37,000 more requiring ICU and ventilator care.
“That’s our main issue,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday. “That’s a projection and projections can change, or you can change projections, but that’s the main problem we’re dealing with.”
Cuomo added that President Trump agreed to dispatch the USNS Comfort, which is essentially a “floating hospital” that has 1,000 beds onboard, to New York. The ship will be moored in New York Harbor. Cuomo said he also spoke to the president about mobile hospitals becoming available in the state.
Cuomo also said he would be waiving the Department of Health regulations regarding the number of beds that are allowed in each hospital room to address the potential shortage.
“Our main scramble here is for the ventilators,” he said. “This is a respiratory illness. We need ventilators, which will actually help people breathe.”
Cuomo said the machines are commonplace in hospitals, but that the number that the nation needs is much higher than what is currently available.
“This is the No. 1 device that we need, because we can create more beds, but it’s literally the supply of ventilators now,” he said.
More than 1,708 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in New York, and 16 people have died. Cuomo said the rate of hospitalizations in the state is going up, and that 108 people who were hospitalized with the virus have since been discharged.
In the same press conference, Cuomo again denied that a “shelter in place” was being discussed, despite warnings from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that one was possibly coming.
Instead, Cuomo again urged employees who can work from home to continue doing so, and announced that all workforces would be reduced by 50 percent except for those in essential services.