Coronavirus News: USNS Comfort arrives, Javits to open as temp hospital in NYC

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Monday, March 30, 2020
USNS Comfort Arrives in NY
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USNS Comfort Arrives in NY as the number of COVID-19 cases rise in the tri-state area.

WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The USNS Comfort sailed into New York Harbor on Monday as the Jacob Javits Center prepared to open as a medical facility to increase hospital capacity in New York City amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost three thousand beds are set up at Javits Center to receive patients who are not suffering from COVID-19.

According to the Army Corp. of engineers, hospital units from Ft. Campbell and Ft. Hood will be on duty.

All of this will provide tremendous relief for the medical teams who have already been overworked and overstretched during the crisis, and will open up critical beds for the expected onslaught of COVID-19 patients.

"If NYC gets overwhelmed, we'll ask the upstate systems to be a relief valve for the downstate health systems, which has never happened before to any scale, and also visa versa," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The United States naval ship Comfort, docking at Pier 90 on the West Side of Manhattan, will provide another thousand beds for also non-COVID-19 patients.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that 750 hospital beds on the ship will immediately begin operating. He said that this ship is on par with Bellevue or any other hospital in New York City.

"It's like another one of them just floated right up to help us right now," Mayor de Blasio said.

"This is such a crucial part of the plan we are putting into place," he added. "We need to triple our hospital bed capacity in New York City by May."

Samaritan's Purse staff members are also quickly setting up an Emergency Field Hospital in East Meadow in Central Park to provide care for patients seriously ill with COVID-19. A large Disaster Assistance Response Team, including doctors, nurse, and other medical personnel will soon be on the ground as well.

The 68-bed hospital will be ready by Tuesday.

Every hospital bed, every extra medical worker is more valuable than gold itself right now, as the city braces for the worst.

Mayor de Blasio says they have enough for one more week, but will need to use the days ahead to add more staff and critical equipment - especially the coveted ventilators.

He added that once the city is done using the ventilators and supplies, the city will be the first to donate and send help to the rest of the nation.

"Our country was there for us, and we will be there for our country," Mayor de Blasio said.


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