Another New York City field hospital is being dismantled after taking in zero patients, while the city continues to be told it must stay closed into June due to a lack of hospital beds.
The 670-bed makeshift hospital at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook is being demobilized before it takes a single COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 patient, despite the city only needing an extra 420 hospital beds to meet one of state Governor Andrew Cuomo’s requirements for the city to begin reopening.
Cuomo has set a target that all regions must keep 30 percent of their hospital beds free – something New York City is two percent or 420 beds short of.
This comes as New York state’s daily death toll dipped below 100 for the first time in two months, as Cuomo announced another 84 deaths from coronavirus on Friday.
NYC residents are growing increasingly weary as the city’s lockdown rumbles on, while all other regions of the state are expected to reopen by the end of next week.
New York City continues to be told it must stay closed into June as it fails to meet some of the reopening requirements including a lack of hospital beds (the state’s requirements above)
The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has already been converted into a facility offering 670 beds at a staggering cost of $20.8 million, but city officials said the hospital is now being dismantled.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the plans to convert the idle site into a hospital back on March 31.
The contract was handed to Texas-based contractor SLSCO under a no-bid emergency deal and the site was scheduled to open mid-April.
It wasn’t ready until May 4 and, just over two weeks later, is being taken down before any patients pass through its doors.
The hospital was just one of many sites set up to ease the burden on the city’s overwhelmed hospitals when the outbreak ramped up and transformed New York City into the global virus epicenter – all of which have been or are in the process of being dismantled.
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.
The Javits Convention Center treated around 1,100 patients before it too was converted back into its former role as an exhibition space earlier in May.
The 670-bed makeshift hospital at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook (pictured in busier days in 2006) is being demobilized before it takes a single patient, despite the city only needing an extra 420 hospital beds to meet one of state Governor Andrew Cuomo’s requirements for the city to begin reopening
NYC residents are growing increasingly weary as the city’s lockdown rumbles on, as all other state regions are expected to reopen by the end of next week
Then there was the 14-test makeshift hospital erected in Central Park at the end of March by Samaritan’s Purse, which after treating 315 patients began packing up at the start of this month.
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 help ease the burden on the nearby Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
City Hall officials revealed it too shuttered earlier this month after taking in a meagre 79 patients.
Other facilities also include a site at Stony Brook on Long Island.
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
Both Cuomo and de Blasio have said New York City will not begin phase one of its reopening until the first or second week of June.
Long Island and mid-Hudson, the two regions surrounding it, are expected to reopen next week, which will mean all regions other than NYC have started reopening.
Cuomo set out seven reopening requirements that regions must reach before they can begin easing lockdown restrictions.
New York City is short on three requirements: the city needs to keep 30 percent of its ICU beds and 30 percent of its hospital beds free and needs to have 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.
New York City is just two percent or 420 beds short of meeting the requirement to keep 30 percent of its 21,000 hospital beds free.
Questions are now being asked over why the makeshift hospitals have been dismantled when they could have filled this gap in the reopening requirements.
The three areas holding New York City back from reopening are the lack of free hospital beds and contact tracers which have to be hired by the local government
Questions are also being asked over the cost of converting the facilities only for several of them to not be used at all.
The federal Army Corps of Engineers spent more than $350 million on field hospitals across the city, according to reports from The City.
‘As part of our hospital surge, we expanded capacity at a breakneck speed, ensuring our hospital infrastructure would be prepared to handle the very worst. We did so only with a single-minded focus: saving lives,’ Avery Cohen, a City Hall spokesperson, told The City.
‘Over the past few months, social distancing, face coverings, and other precautionary measures have flattened the curve drastically, and we remain squarely focused on taking that progress even further.’
Officials added that the costs are likely to be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A City Hall spokesperson told DailyMail.com Saturday that the city is measuring the number of people in its public hospital ICUs as a reopening threshold and that the city does not want to open ‘at surge capacity’.
Friday was the first time New York state’s daily death toll dipped below 100 since March 23
‘The city is measuring the number of people currently in its public hospital ICUs as a threshold for opening. We want that number to be at 375 for a sustained 10-14 days. On Friday, it was at 450, so clearly there is progress left so be made,’ they told DailyMail.com in a statement.
‘Naturally, as people leave the public hospital ICUs, we can expect others in private hospital beds across the city to do the same.
‘We do not want to re-open at surge capacity – which is what the field hospitals allow for. They can always be redeployed and activated as necessary.’
The spokesperson added that it was the decision of the federal government and the state to take down the USNS Comfort and Javits Center field hospitals.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Governor Cuomo’s Office for comment.
The ongoing uncertainty for New Yorkers comes as Cuomo announced Saturday there were 84 new deaths from coronavirus in the state on Friday, a decline that continues to be ‘good news’.
This was the first time New York state’s daily death toll dipped below 100 since March 23.
Cuomo said that at the height of the pandemic, he had been aiming to reach below 100 on the advice of a medical professional.
Hospitalizations and new cases arriving into hospital emergency rooms are also continuing to decrease but the governor warned that residents must remain vigilant over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
As of Saturday, New York state recorded 359,926 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 23,285 deaths.
In New York City, cases have reached 194,667 and the death toll now stands at 16,403.
WHAT DOES NYC NEED TO DO TO REOPEN?
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have confusingly cited different requirements for NYC to start reopening.
Cuomo’s requirements for each of the regions of the state are as follows:
- 14-day decline in hospitalizations
- 14-day decline in deaths
- New hospitalizations under two per 100,000 residents
- 30 percent of hospital beds free
- 30 percent of ICU beds free
- 30 tests per 1,000 residents
- 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents
Based on Cuomo’s requirements New York City meets four of the seven requirements.
It falls short on hospital beds where it stands at 28 percent as of Saturday, ICU beds where it stands at 26 percent and contact tracers (number unknown).
De Blasio announced new ‘indicator thresholds’ for reopening the city Friday:
- Daily hospital admissions below a threshold of 200
- Number of patients in ICU patients below a threshold of 375
- New cases below a 15 percent threshold
Based on these requirements New York City meets two of the three thresholds but is above threshold on the number of ICU patients, with de Blasio announcing there were 471 patients as of Friday.
Gov Cuomo blames Trump administration for sending more than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients from hospital to nursing homes where 5,800 New York residents died saying he was following CDC guidance
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has defended sending more than 4,300 patients confirmed or suspected of having coronavirus from hospitals to nursing homes, arguing it was White House guidance.
The governor hit out at the criticism during his Saturday press briefing, placing the blame with President Donald Trump by saying ‘don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy’.
Cuomo has come under fire since it was revealed on Thursday that the 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes.
In total, there have been more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in the state.
He was pushed to comment on the policy during his Saturday briefing and said that ‘New York followed the president’s agency’s guidance’.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a press briefing on Saturday ‘don’t criticize the state for following the president policy’ after he was criticized for sending patients confirmed or suspected of having coronavirus from hospitals to nursing homes under state guidelines
It was revealed Friday that 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under the state’s guidelines. Pictured EMTs wheel a man out of the Cobble Hill Health Center nursing home in Brooklyn, New York.
The state directive, which said nursing homes could not refuse to accept patients from hospitals who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, was issued on March 25.
It was ultimately scrapped amid widespread criticism that it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreak as patients went into the homes and infected more residents, ultimately leading to more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York.
Cuomo has denied that the directive contributed to any of the deaths.
‘I have no political agenda, I have no political aspirations, there’s no politics here,’ Cuomo said Saturday when asked about the policy.
‘I can say that but we’re still in an election year and people are playing politics and this is a hyper partisan environment to the extent that people want to politicize this issue and Republicans are saying “well, New York did this”.
‘New York followed the president agency’s guidance. That depoliticizes it,’ he added.
‘What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do. That’s not my attempt to politicize it, it’s my attempt to depoliticize it.
‘So don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy.’
Cuomo also turned to his top aide Melissa DeRosa, who reiterated that the state had only followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.
‘The policy that the New York Department of Health put out was directly in line with the March 13 directive put out by the CDC and CMS that read, and I quote “Nursing Homes should admit any patients from hospitals where COVID is present”. Not could, should,’ De Rosa said.
‘The is President Trump’s CMS and CDC.
Gov. Cuomo has come under fire since it was revealed that the 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes. Pictured medical workers attend to a patient outside Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in early May
‘So I know that there has been a lot of discussion on this topic, there were over a dozen states that did the exact same thing who were concerned about hospital capacity,’ she added.
Cuomo’s response to the backlash over the nursing home admissions came after a Fox News senior meteorologist revealed she blames the New York governor for her parents-in-law dying of COVID-19 in a nursing home.
Janice Dean told Fox News on Thursday that she felt compelled to speak out after the governor appeared on CNN, where Chris Cuomo teased his older sibling for having a large nose.
Dean said that her mother- and father-in-law, Michael and Dolores Newman, both died of COVID-19 after they were exposed to the virus in nursing homes.
Her father-in-law, Michael, an Air Force veteran and former New York City firefighter, was placed in a nursing home after it became apparent he was suffering from dementia.
Dean said that she and her husband were notified a week before Michael’s death that the nursing home was moving him to another floor.
‘I believe that floor was used for recovering COVID patients,’ Dean said. ‘I can’t prove that. We can’t get any confirmation on any of this.’
Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged.
But he continued to defend it this week, saying he didn’t believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York – more than in any other state – and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem.
Gov. Cuomo said the Mid-Hudson region could open this week once more contract tracers are trained over the Memorial Day weekend. It has currently met six of the requirements
Governor Cuomo also announced Saturday that the Mid Hudson and Long Island regions are getting closer to meeting all the criteria that will allow them to begin phase one of reopening but no mention was made of when New York City could expect the same.
Mid-Hudson is hitting the criteria allowing it to open Tuesday and Long Island potentially following suit by Wednesday.
New York City is to remain closed, however, as it does not yet have an acceptable percentage of hospital beds or ICU beds available.